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888 CEO Sees Growth in Online Gambling Revenues


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It’s no secret that the current global economic crises – the worst in over 60
years – has had a sever impact on most industry’s around the world, the online
gambling industry being no exception. 888 Holdings Plc, for instance, saw
a 12 percent drop in its revenues since last year, but the firm’s CEO is
confident.

According to Gigi Levy, who heads up the mammoth online gambling company,
currently the second-biggest in the United Kingdom, the worst of the recession
is behind us and the online gambling industry as a whole can look forward to
growth in excess of 20 percent by 2010, as consumers confidence comes back.

‘We feel a lot more confident that the online gambling industry’s going back to
its normal growth trend, rather than continuing to be hurt by the recession,’
said Levy in a recent telephone interview. ‘We’re looking at our first quarter
as the lowest point, and aiming to grow from there.’ Levy was referring to 888’s
Q1 results.

In the first quarter of 2009, 888 – which owns and operates many of the
internet’s most popular and successful online casinos and poker rooms – reported
a drop in its revenues to $61 million and drop in the number of its active
players by 8 percent to 180,000, the firm’s lowest revenues and player numbers
in recent times.

However, Levy’s optimism for the future not only bodes well for 888 – and its
shareholders – but also for the rest of the online gambling industry hard-hit by
the recession, and before that the online gambling ban in the United States.
Gambling firms were forced to rally after the lucrative U.S. market became
‘off-limits’.

According to recent reports, 888 is trying to counteract the recession by
setting up online gambling operations for other businesses; forming symbiotic
joint ventures; and increasing its marketing in Europe to attract more players,
particularly women, who represent one of the fastest growing demographics in the
industry.

On Monday this week, 888 shares increased by 1.3 pence, or 1.5 percent, to 83.5
pence on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The firm’s shares have dropped by 16
percent overall this year so far, giving the Gibraltar-based online gambling
company a total market value of 288.4 million pounds ($487 million).

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