888 is debating on leaving the German market altogether

21 Mar 2018

888Popular sportsbook and casino operator 888 Holdings is seriously contemplating on whether to stay or abandon the German market entirely. The reason is none other than the recent legislation changes in Germany that brought the bookmaker's annual revenue down to its knees. Although 888 announced a revenue increase compared to last year, its gross profit plummeted to $18.8 million in 2017, from 2016's $59.2 million. There are 2 main reasons for that, namely a hefty fine from UKGC for 888's ineffective customer support, as well as charges from a German VAT bill.

The situation as is, bans online and land-based gambling operators from providing their services in many German regions, such as Baden Württemberg, according to a German court's decision. The whole thing escalated even more when several payment providers decided to cut off hold deposits for bookmakers doing business in Germany. In the light of all these developments 888 is thinking of filing an appeal. The company is also evaluating whether staying in the market is actually worth it, or stepping away from it might prove to be a wiser call in the long run.

However unsatisfactory the German market might have proved to be for 888, the bookie has seen tremendous growth in Spain and Italy with annual revenue in 2017 advancing by 34% to each region respectively. Notably, the Spanish market's revenue increase contributes to an impressive 12% of the group's total revenue boost. The company has both its casino and sportsbook products to thank for that.

Growth numbers are impressive. Sportsbook revenue went from $51.9 million in 2016 to $75.7 million in 2017 boasting a 45% increase. In addition, casino revenue saw a 4% boost from $281.1 million in 2016 to $293.9 million in 2017. 888's CEO Itai Frieberger is overall very happy with the group's performance, demonstrating a 12% increase in adjusted EBITDA despite recent mishaps in the German market, and is looking very optimistic towards the future.

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Even though 888 started as a casino and poker site, in 2008, the sportsbook came into the light. Since then, the offering has been steadily improving. It has moved its business to Gibraltar and has become one of the most established brands. It has a clear white markets strategy and focuses a lot on localization. It currently holds local licenses in countries with strict betting regulations, like Sweden and Spain. In addition, it recently expanded to the US market, with the launch of the SI sportsbook. The horse and greyhound sections are excellent and you can utilize several features while betting. Nonetheless, there are some aspects I would like to see some enhancements. The site recently switched from the Kambi to an in-house built platform and faces the same problems as any new platform does. The number of markets offered, even for the top football events, has dropped considerably, especially compared to the competition. Also, there have been several instances where the Cash Out feature is suspended for a long period. Finally, the withdrawal times are rather slow. Overall, 888sport is a site worth trusting and following.

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