888 Holdings

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888 Holdings
Public
Traded as LSE888
Industry Gambling
Founded 1997
Headquarters Suite 601/701, Europort, Gibraltar
Key people
Richard Kilsby, Chairman
Brian Mattingley, CEO
Revenue $400.5 million (2013)[1]
$61.7 million (2013)[1]
$50.0 million (2013)[1]
Subsidiaries Dragonfish
Website 888 holdings

888 Holdings plc is a company which operates several high-profile gambling websites. It was founded in 1997. It has an operating subsidiary, Cassava Enterprises, which is incorporated and operates under the laws of Gibraltar. Brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked owned approximately fifty percent of the parent-company through family trusts. Another pair of brothers, Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, control approximately eleven percent through a family trust.[2]

History[edit]

Cassava Enterprises logo.

The business was founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Avi and Aaron Shaked and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak in May 1997 as Virtual Holdings Limited. Casino-on-Net was launched at that time and an administrative centre was established in Antigua. In 2002 Reef Club Casino and Pacific Poker were launched. In 2003 its administrative center was moved to Gibraltar.[3] It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.[4] Talk of listing began in mid-2005, as other private online gambling companies began to make the move to public ownership,[5] with HSBC advising 888 on the IPO,[6] which reached an estimated initial valuation £550 to £650 million.[7] The final valuation upon flotation was £590 million.[8] 888 Holdings owned several subsidiaries and brands, which it began to bring under the singular "888" brand name in early 2006.[9]

Until 2006, 888 Holdings operated Pacific Poker in the US, before online gambling became illegal in that country.[10] However, 888 was not as reliant on US revenues as its other UK competitors, leading to less of an impact.[11] In late 2006 Ladbrokes and 888.com announced merger discussions.[12] However in April 2007 the companies announced that due to recent changes of Tax laws in the UK and fears of legal actions by the US government, both parties had amicably agreed not to continue discussions.[13] In March 2007 888 announced its acquisition of Bingo business of Globalcom Limited for up to $43.4 million in cash.[14] In 2008, 888 Holdings was elevated to the FTSE 250 Index, with its 2007 revenues increasing by $56 million from 2006--with casino games accounting for 55% of the company's gross. In its first half year, the company's bingo business earned $14 million in revenues.[15]

888.com overtook the 4th place on the poker network list in April 2012 after almost having tripled their peak number of players from July 2010 to February 2012.[16] In February, 2015, 888 Holdings confirmed it is in "advanced talks" over a reported $1.47 billion USD (£750 million) takeover by William Hill. This prompted a 18 percent jump in its share price.[17] The company operates under a gaming license granted by the government of Gibraltar. Under the terms of the gaming license Cassava Enterprises owns and operates a number of gaming sites (both for real money and educational sites). In 2014 888 Holdings turned down an offer to acquire the company for 700 million pounds.[18] That year the company revenues began to increase due to mobile customers on its websites, and the company's sites hat 17.8 million paying users.[19]

In 2015 Brian Mattingley left the position of CEO to assume the position of executive chairman of the board for 888 Holdings.[20] In 2015, as online gambling began to return to the United States, four of the five legal gambling websites were run by 888, including three in Delaware and one in Nevada.[21] The company had first initiated its return to the US market in 2013, partnering with Avenue Capital Group to form the first US online poker network.[22]

888 Casino[edit]

History[edit]

888 casino is an online gambling site operated by 888 Holdings PLC and licensed in Gibraltar. [23] The site provides online casino games in download and web-based instant play for personal computers, tablets and mobile devices. 888 casino offers traditional casino games to play online including classic table games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps, classic slots and video slots, video poker and Live Casino tables.[24] In 1994 the Free Trade & Processing Zone Act was passed in Antigua and Barbuda, opening the way for the development of legal online casinos.[25] Casino-on-Net, 888 Holding’s first online casino, was launched in May 1997,[26] and re-branded in 2010 as 888 casino in order to unify the look and feel of other 888 Holdings offerings, 888 poker, 888 games, 888 sport and 888 ladies.[27]

888 Casino platform[edit]

The 888casino platform is powered by Random Logic software, a subsidiary of 888 Holdings that provides research, development, operations and marketing services.[28] Available in 23 languages,[29] 888 casino offers online casino games for real-money betting and free practice play. New games are both developed in-house and supplied by external gaming companies such as Net Entertainment and Amaya Gaming.

The 888 Live Casino Tables offer players real-time casino games hosted by a live casino dealer. Games are streamed via a live cam streaming link and players place their bets and chat with their dealer via their computer screen. Live Casino tables offer blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables and a choice of professional male and female dealers.[30] With the exception of LIVE casino games, which are broadcast in real-time with live dealers via webcam, the 888 casino "dealer" is really a computer. A Random Number Generator (RNG) is utilized to ensure that performance is truly random. 888 casino uses the MD5 RNG which provides consistently random results. The system has been rigorously tested by running millions of rounds and examining results. The system is also systematically tested by 888.com.[31]

Re-entering the US market[edit]

In October 2006, as a result of an act of the United States Congress,[32] online gaming firms had to end their presence in the US market, or face the threat of crippling criminal prosecutions. The end result was an exile from the US market for UK gaming companies. In March 2013, the Nevada Gaming Commission granted 888 an online license as an Interactive Gaming Service Provider, enabling 888 to become the first company uniquely providing online gaming by an US jurisdiction.[33]

Recently the state of New Jersey allowed online casino games to feature as part of its new regulatory regime.[34] In August 2013, 888.com signed an agreement with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE)[35] through the group’s All American Poker Network (AAPN) joint venture with Avenue Capital enabling 888 to offer own-branded poker and casino products in New Jersey.[36] 888 casino also publishes an independently audited monthly Casino Payout Percentage and includes the Payout Percentage of each 888.com game, as well as the total average Payout Percentage of 888.com.[37]

Sponsorship & awards[edit]

In August 2013, 888casino.com signed up as the new World Snooker title sponsor of its World Seniors Championship.[38] 888 casino has been awarded the following awards throughout the years:

AWARD WON[39] YEAR
Best Online Casino of the Year, TotallyGaming Awards 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012
Best Betting and Gaming Company, Leisure Report Awards 2007 & 2008
Gold Readers Choice Award for Top Casino, The Gambling Online Magazine Awards 2007
Best Casino Operator of the Year and Best Overall Online Gaming Operator 2005
Best Online Casino of the Year 2008 & 2009
Operator of the Year, eGR Operator Awards 2013[40]
Poker Operator, eGR Operator Awards 2013[41]

888poker[edit]

Main article: 888poker

888poker.com is Cassava's online poker room branch .[42] It was launched in July 2002 and focuses exclusively on variants of poker and other card games. Traditional poker variants are offered, including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven-card stud. Like Casino-on-Net,888 poker offers free play versions of its games for players who prefer not to risk real money. 888 Poker is Microsoft Windows and Mac compatible. Players can choose to play on the site's software program or on the non-downloadable game version available online.

888 Bingo[edit]

888 Holdings owns and operates several different online bingo sites. They offer 90-ball and 75-ball bingo games, along with online slot machine games, progressive jackpots and scratchcards. The games all run on a no download required basis and have an emphasis on community and chat rooms. In December 2009, 888.com purchased brands including Wink Bingo, Posh Bingo, Tasty Bingo, and RedBus Bingo from Daub.[43][44][45] 888ladies.com is Cassava's online bingo room. The bingo site was launched in February 2008 after 888 acquired online bingo company Globalcom. 888ladies offers 75-ball, 90-ball and 5-line bingo games as well as instant games, casino games and scratchcards.[46] In January 2013, 888ladies.com launched a mobile app for iPhone and later Android iPad and tablet.[47] The site is known for running frequent competitions.[48]

Wink Bingo launched in 2008 and is the biggest site in the Joy of Bingo network and the second largest 888 bingo site. 888’s acquisition of the site was followed by a TV ad campaign that included projecting the Wink Bingo logo onto the Houses of Parliament.[49] Wink Bingo also runs frequent promotions and competitions. In January 2014, Wink launched The Breakfast Club competition, asking readers to photograph their meals and upload them to the Wink Bingo Facebook page for the chance to win ASDA vouchers. The competition received news coverage in Hello Magazine[50] and Reading Chronicle.[51] Posh Bingo launched in September 2006 and underwent a major redesign in March 2012. The site has a fashion theme. Tasty Bingo launched in March 2010 and is themed around food. RedBus Bingo launched in April 2010 and has a London theme. Bingo Street launched in July 2011 and is based on a typical UK street, with rooms titled ‘Bingo Supermarket’ and ‘Bingo Hall’.[52]

Big Brother Bingo launched in January 2012 and is based on the reality television show Big Brother[53] on Channel 5.[54] The room names have Big Brother themes and special prizes are often linked to the television programme.[55] There are also standard cash prizes and polls on the housemates.[56]

888bingo.com is the second online bingo site by Cassava, after 888ladies. It was formally launched in December 2009. It offers a selection of games including 75-ball and 90-ball bingo, team bingo, slots, instant games, video poker, and table games. The site is a certified supporter of GamCare, as is 888ladies.[57] 888’s Facebook app Bingo Appy launched in December 2012.[58] offering bingo, casino and slots games via Facebook. It is now the only bingo app on Facebook to permit users to bet and win real money,[59] with Bingo Friendzy’s withdrawal.[60] The app offers 75-ball and 90-ball bingo, instant games, scratchcards and freebie rooms. 888 had initially provided a ‘freemium’ or play-for-fun service on Facebook before the introduction of Bingo Appy.[61]

Awards[edit]

AWARD WON YEAR
Online Bingo Operator of the Year, IGA Gaming Awards. 2012[62]
Best Bingo Marketing Campaign at the EGR Operator Marketing and Innovation Awards. 2014[63]

Other sites[edit]

888sport.com is Cassava's sports betting site. The online bookmaker was launched in March 2008.[64] 888games.com is Cassava's casual gaming site. Hosts a variety of games, from video slots to scratchcards, table games and classic casino games in a non-download platform. 888games currently offered in: Germany and the United Kingdom.[65]

US players[edit]

On 2 October 2006, 888 Holdings announced that it had indefinitely suspended business from US customers in light of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 by the US Congress three days before.[66] On 14 August 2007, the US Department of Justice asked to recoup all profits made by the company in the US. This would amount to nearly $120m for 888.[67]

Senior management[edit]

Gigi Levy served as Chief Executive until 2011, he was paid an annual salary of $841,000 and an annual bonus of $1,007,000 in 2010.[68]

In March 2012, Brian Mattingley was appointed as Chief Executive of 888 Holdings.[69]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  2. ^ 888 Holdings shareholders[dead link]
  3. ^ "888 Holdings History". 888holdingsplc.com. 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  4. ^ "888". International Gaming & Wagering Business. 2006. p. 101. 
  5. ^ Julia Fields (June 12, 2005). "HAS INTERNET BETTING GOT THE UPPER HAND?". The Sunday Herald. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ "High stakes sector that is a white knuckle ride". Daily Mail (London). September 7, 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  7. ^ James Quinn (September 15, 2005). "Chips Are Down as 888 Cuts Value". Daily Mail. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  8. ^ Alex Brummer (September 30, 2005). "Shooting Down Online Losers; City Comment". Daily Mail. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Gambling firm to group sites under global 888.com brand". Marketing Week. January 5, 2006. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ James Banks (2014). Online Gambling and Crime: Causes, Controls and Controversies. Ashgate Publishing. p. 44. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ Alex Brummer (September 7, 2005). "Pokerfaced Party Poopers; CITY COMMENT". Daily Mail. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Ladbrokes in 888 takeover talks". BBC News. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  13. ^ "Ladbrokes and 888 Holdings amicably end merger talks". Casinoguide.com. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  14. ^ Reuters: UK's 888 buys online bingo firm
  15. ^ "A very good year for 888--thanks to casino business". IGWB: International Gaming & Wagering Business. April 1, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  16. ^ "888POKER STATISTICS". PokerHistory.eu. 2011-10-31. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  17. ^ Shaun, Greg (2015-02-11). "888.com in $1.47 Billion Acquisition Talks with William Hill". 
  18. ^ Kadhim Shubber, Joel Greenberg and Roger Blitz (March 3, 2015). "Israeli pioneers raise stakes in online gambling". Financial Times. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ Roger Blitz (November 4, 2014). "888 Holdings notches up record revenues". Financial Times. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  20. ^ Jason Reynolds (August 29, 2014). "888 to Expand as CEO Mattingley Steps Down". Poker Sites. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  21. ^ Brian Pempus (February 24, 2015). "Nevada, Delaware Close To Sharing Player Pools For Online Poker, Silver State Governor Says: A Year After Deal Was Signed, Implementation 'Imminent'". Card Player. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  22. ^ Dan Katz (March 12, 2013). "888 Holdings to Create U.S. Online Poker Network". Poker News Daily. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  23. ^ gibraltar.gov.gi:Remote gambling from Gibraltar
  24. ^ 888casino.com:888 casino offering description
  25. ^ investantiguabarbuda.org: Free trade and processing zone
  26. ^ 888holdingsplc.com:888 casino history
  27. ^ bloomberg.com: Current Trading
  28. ^ gamblingland.com:888 casino platform
  29. ^ 888casino.com:Languages availability of 888 casino
  30. ^ 888casino.com:Live casino of 888 casino
  31. ^ 888casino.com:888 casino uses MD5 RNG
  32. ^ calvinayre.com:888 casino re-enters the US market
  33. ^ londonstockexchange.com:License for 888 casino to enter US market
  34. ^ gaming.nv.gov:888 casino operates in New Jersey
  35. ^ 15marketing.co.uk:Caesars&888 casino
  36. ^ independent.co.uk:888 is enabled to offer own-branded Poker and Casino products
  37. ^ ecogra.org:Payout Percentage of 888.com
  38. ^ sportspromedia.com:888 casino sponsorship
  39. ^ prnewswire.com:888 casino awards
  40. ^ http://www.egrmagazine.com/egr_operator_awards_2014
  41. ^ http://www.egrmagazine.com/egr_operator_awards_2014
  42. ^ "About 888 poker". 888poker.com. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  43. ^ standard.co.uk: The purchase of wink bingo by 888.com
  44. ^ uk.reuters.com: the growing of online bingo in uk
  45. ^ ft.com: the growing of online bingo in uk
  46. ^ theguardian.com: The variety of bingo games and scratchcards.
  47. ^ calvinayre.com: The new redesign of 888ladies
  48. ^ mirror.co.uk: The 888ladies’ Granny Awards competition
  49. ^ marketingweek.co.uk: The launch of wink bingo
  50. ^ hellomagazine.com: The coverage of wink competition by Hello magazine
  51. ^ readingchronicle.co.uk: The coverage of wink competition by reading chronicle
  52. ^ Alan Graham (August 6, 2014). "888Poker Attracting More Players Despite Global Decline". Poker News Report. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  53. ^ mediaweek.co.uk: 888.com rolls out Big Brother Bingo
  54. ^ channel5.com: the British version of the international reality television franchise Big Brother
  55. ^ prnewswire.com: 888.com in partnership with Endemoland Channel 5 announce the launch of BigBrotherBingo.com.
  56. ^ mediaweek.co.uk: 888.com rolls out Big Brother Bingo
  57. ^ gamcaretradeservices.com: Gamecare the regulation of 888bingo
  58. ^ theguardian.com: 888 Bingo Appy launched in December 2012
  59. ^ thetimes.co.uk: Facebook takes a gamble on 888 casino deal
  60. ^ egrmagazine.com: Gamesys pulls real-money Facebook app
  61. ^ telegraph.co.uk: 888 Holdings climbs on Facebook agreement
  62. ^ gaming-awards.com: 888ladies won the award for the Online Bingo Operator of the Year 2012
  63. ^ egrmagazine.com: 888ladies wins the EGR Operator Marketing and Innovation Award 2014
  64. ^ "888SPORT BOOKMAKER - BET REPORT". Bet Report. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  65. ^ "888games". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  66. ^ "Forbes: 888 suspends business from US customers". Web.archive.org. 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  67. ^ Robert Lea (2007-02-05). "PartyGaming and 888.com About to Write Blank Checks to US Government?". Thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-19. 
  68. ^ "Gigi Levy: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  69. ^ "888 to Appoint Mattingley as Permanent CEO, Times Says". Bloomberg. 25 March 2012. 

External links[edit]