888 Holdings Facing A Wider Storm As New Captain Takes The Helm

It’s a common supposition that a bad workman blames his own tools; in the case of super group 888 Holdings, which released its Third Quarter financial results yesterday, showing a 10 percent year-on-year dive in revenue, it was “shifts” in safer gambling practices, a “more refined” marketing strategy – even punters winning too many bets.

In short it was everything except poor management decisions, notably paying way over the top for the non-US assets of William Hill — a decision, most observers concur, that was directly responsible for the corporate defenestration of its long-serving CEO Itai Pazner earlier this year.

But new 888 captain Per Widerström, who formally took the helm on Monday, has quite naturally put the best gloss he can on the Q3 results that has seen group revenue decline to £405 million (US$493.83mn) in the quarter, a slide that’s likely to continue into Q4.

“I have already been struck by the strength of the group’s assets and its clear potential, as well as the ambition of our team,” affirmed Widerström.

“Despite the regulatory challenges the group has faced this year, the hard work by the team is already showing signs of results meaning that we head towards the end of the year with positive momentum, and well placed to grow in the coming years.

Unlock and Load

But Widerström (pictured left) also asserted: “There are clearly also several areas for improvement which we will focus on to unlock our full potential and drive value creation.”

Following the ousting of Pazner in January, 888 Holdings has been running something of a holding pattern while it searched for a new captain.

Although average monthly active users increased by 17 percent, the gaming giant’s digital UK and Ireland vertical experienced a 10 percent drop in revenue in Q3, to £157.2 million (US$191.67mn).

Retail revenue of £125.6 million (US$153.14mn) showed a marginal one percent growth, year-on-year.

But 888’s International Division took a major hit in the quarter, with revenues plunging 19 percent to £122.2 million (US$149mn) compared with Q3 in 2022.

On a more positive note, 888 has accelerated the online in-house segue of its proprietary platforms running 888.com, Mr Green, et al, with that of William Hill’s.

And, according to its Chairman Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn, it still remains well on course to achieve revenue of some £2 billion by 2025 (US$2.43bn).

What’s certain however–as the UK betting industry braces for major regulatory changes ahead–is that even with highly-regarded, super-experienced Per Widerström at the wheel, 888 Holdings will be facing wider challenges and storms ahead.

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