Online gambling firm 888 Holdings has cheered an “encouraging” start to the year after UK revenues surged by nearly a fifth.
The group posted an 18% jump in UK like-for-like revenues between January 1 and May 18, with sales largely thanks to an increase in recreational customers.
Overall group first-quarter like-for-like revenues lifted 6% thanks to more marketing spend and its new Orbit Casino platform, which together have helped boost new customer numbers by 20%.
However, the betting giant revealed an ongoing tough poker market, with underlying revenues tumbling 28%, while bingo sales were flat.
This was offset by an impressive 29% leap in revenues for sport and a 13% increase for casino.
Shares edged 1% lower in morning trading.
Itai Pazner, chief executive of 888, said: “888 has enjoyed a solid start to the year with strong momentum in casino and sport across a number of the group’s major regulated markets.
“Whilst poker has remained challenging, we were pleased to see an improving revenue trend in the first quarter of 2019 against the fourth quarter of 2018.”
The firm has two divisions, one for the business-to-business market, called Dragonfish, and the other for consumers.
Its revenues in the UK last year were hit – falling 16% – after it enforced measures to comply with stricter regulations.
The firm put in place sweeping changes in response to the Government’s efforts to tackle under-age and problem gamblers, such as the self-imposed advertising watershed, which was agreed with other bookmakers.
Despite this hit, 2018 pre-tax profits increased to 108.7 million US dollars (£85.7 million) compared with 18.8 million dollars (£14.8 million) the previous year.