888Poker revenue up 70%

888′s revamped poker continued to buck the challenging European environment in the last quarter, helping the operator deliver a 72% increase in poker revenue in the six months to the end of June.

888 credited “ongoing product improvements, targeted marketing and effective CRM” with the rise.

While second-quarter poker performance fell behind that of the previous quarter due to a return to historical season revenue patterns, second-quarter poker revenue was still up 59% year-on-year to US$20m, up from US$13m a year ago, which boosted 888’s poker revenue for the six months to the end of June to US$41m, 72% up on those generated a year earlier.

The trading update follows two weeks after 888 upgraded its FY earnings targets on the back of 888Poker’s performance in Spain provided a further boost to the operator’s trading.

888’s rejuvenated poker product has proved the second major beneficiary behind PokerStars of last year’s shutdown of US-facing sites including Full Tilt Poker last year, due to the timely introduction of recreational player-focused initiatives such as its Poker 6 platform and PokerCams. The initiatives helped propel 888Poker from the 13th to the fourth largest poker network in little more than 12 months, according to cash poker tracking website PokerScout.

The continued improvement in poker helped the London-listed operator to group revenue of US$92m in the quarter, 17% up on the US$79m recorded a year earlier. Revenue from 888’s core casino component also held up well in the face of the traditional seasonal slowdown leading into summer, up 15% to US$41 million from US$36 million. Active poker and casino customers were up an impressive 48% to 505,000, from 342,000 a year earlier.

CEO Brian Mattingley said the figures indicated 888 had the “right product offering and back office capabilities to grow and sustain market share, as indicated by the success in building a significant market share in the newly regulated Spanish poker market.”

Revenues from bingo (including the 888 Ladies and Wink-owned brands) however remained flat at US$13m, as did those from its Dragonfish B2B division at US$12m.

888 will issue its half-year results for the period ended 30 June 2012 on Wednesday 29 August 2012.

Casino Choice journalist

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