The online gambling giant 888 Holdings this week announced its half year results for the first six months of 2017. Not only are the results impressive, they’re fantastic for the company, which managed to increase revenue across all its markets and across all its gaming platforms.
This success is all in spite of the fact that the company was recently hit with a record fine from the UK Gambling Commission for failings related to problem gambling. So, what are we meant to be doing — celebrating success or decrying failures?
Increases In All Markets
First, let’s talk about those H1 results, which saw the company float into greater profits than it had ever seen before. The report showed that the company’s online and mobile casino division revenue had grown by an impressive 11% in the first six months of the year, with its sports betting division climbing an even more staggering 35%. The biggest increase in a single market was found in Italy, where 888 Holdings was able to increase its overall profits by 9% in the country overall.
If you combine the efforts of all of 888 Holding’s operations – which include a casino, poker site, bingo site and sports betting – the total earnings for the half year were a record-breaking amount for the brand of more than $270 million. Put that into context against the same time last year when the company made $262 million and you can see why the execs might be happy.
UK Gambling Commission Fine
Though this week 888 is happy to be reporting record profits, it hasn’t been such a rosy time in the press for the company recently. Just last week, the big news about 888 holding was how it had been served a huge fine by the UK Gambling Commission.
The commission passed down a record £7.8M fine over failings to adequately protect players who had self-excluded from the betting site. Over 7,000 people had self-excluded were still able to access their accounts, with one player wagering a staggering £1.3m in one year, part of it with money he had stolen from his employer.
However, despite what you might think this fine means, many commentators are suggesting that being slapped on the wrist by the UKGC is just another signal that 888 is really doing well this year. The theory goes that if you’re getting big enough that the UKGC is taking notice of your problem gambling prevention efforts, then you’re most likely doing something very right. Yes, in the short term it’s not ideal to have to pay a multi-million pound fine, but in the long-run, the high profile that put you in the spotlight is only going to benefit you.
We’re a little torn, however. We’re glad for 888 that they’re enjoying such success, but this success should never come at the expense of the safety of players, and unfortunately, that seems to be the case with 888. Hopefully the fine the UKGC has applied will encourage them to follow better practices in the future related to problem gambling, and ensure that they put better protections in place for their players in the future.