888poker Experiences "Challenging" First Half
It seems 888poker has some work to do in order to catch rivals in the online space after the company reported a tough first half of 2018.
In what Poker Industry PRO called the company's "worst performance in recent history," ($) 888 Holdings experienced a 28 percent decline year-over-year in the first half of 2018.
"Poker experienced a challenging first half," a company rep said in a financial report on Thursday.
Reasons for Difficulty
That comes on the heels of a 7.7 percent drop in 2017. The company's poker revenue has dipped every year since 2014.
Last year, much of the drop was blamed on the loss of Australia. The market has historically been home to one of the world's most enthusiastic gambling populations, but regulatory fallout led all licensed operators to exit from Down Under.
That reasoning was again pointed to for 2018. The impact of the FIFA World Cup and changes in the poker market such as regulatory shifts in Europe were also cited. Regarding the latter, for example, Italy recently adopted stringent new rules for advertising that will severely limit customer acquisition opportunities for betting companies.
Although PRO didn't mention it, there's also no doubt strong competition from other operators has made the overall market perhaps tougher than it's been in years.
Market leader PokerStars continues to be a dominating presence and roll out extremely popular live and online events.
Meanwhile, partypoker has significantly ramped up spending, which last year was reported to have paid dividends. They've only increased since, promising a record-breaking online series and upcoming live events in U.K. and The Bahamas with millions guaranteed.
Positive Spin Going Forward
It wasn't all bad news from 888poker in their earnings report.
On the bright side, casino revenues have gained significantly, going up over $14 million year-over-year. Sports betting revenues also jumped more than $3 million. Incidentally, that jump combined with poker's dip resulted in sports betting becoming the second-biggest vertical after casino.
888poker reps pointed to poker as being a partial reason for those gains, as cross-selling to poker players has apparently been successful, to the tune of a 14 percent rise.
"Poker remains a very important acquisition tool and the flow of poker players also playing casino and sport continued to be an important element of the business,” an 888poker official stated.
Plus, PRO reported a new poker platform, dubbed "Poker 8," is in the works, which will help keep the company's online poker client competitive in the future.
888poker currently sits seventh on PokerScout's traffic rankings, so PokerNews will continue to monitor their progress going forward.