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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Although 888 originally started as a casino & poker operator, in 2008 they brought their sportsbook to the spotlight and since then they keep improving their offering. 888sport has a clear white markets strategy. They now have licenses in the US, Spain, Italy, Sweden and in the UK among others. Although I don't usually comment on UX, design and gamification are amazing. Just 2 clicks are enough to place your live bet, up to 4 are needed for a pre-match wager, while features like Build a Bet, Instant Betting and Market Maker, enhance the betting experience. I love the variety of markets and the intriguing live betting section, which comes with an HD streaming service. The same goes for the variety of payment systems. On the other hand, while their odds are on most occasions around the average rate of what other books offer, they still need improvement on the secondary leagues/bets and on Asian lines. Also, the low limits on withdrawals need to be changed asap. Nonetheless, 888sport ranking is high among the punters and for sure is a sportsbook worth to be trusted and followed.

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