888 Holdings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

888 Holdings plc
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$1,238.8 million (2022)[1]
Decrease US$(4.8) million (2022)[1]
Decrease US$(120.6) million (2022)[1]
Number of employees
1,350 (2022)[2]

888 Holdings plc, formerly Virtual Holdings Limited, is an international sports betting and gambling company. It owns brands such as 888casino, 888poker, 888sport, Mr Green, and William Hill. Business operations are conducted from its headquarters in Gibraltar, alongside satellite offices in Bucharest, Ceuta, Leeds, London, Malta, Sofia, and Tel Aviv. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The business was founded in May 1997 by Israeli entrepreneurs Avi and Aaron Shaked and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, two sets of brothers, as Virtual Holdings Limited. The company's first website, Casino-on-Net was launched at that time, and the administrative centre was established in Antigua. In 2002 Reef Club Casino and Pacific Poker followed. 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] 888 Holdings owned several subsidiaries and brands, which it began to bring under the singular "888.com" brand in early 2006.[6]

Until 2006, 888 Holdings operated Pacific Poker in the US, before online gambling became illegal in that country.[7] In late 2006 Ladbrokes and 888.com announced merger discussions.[8] 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.[9] In March 2007 888 announced its acquisition of Bingo business of Globalcom Limited for up to $43.4 million in cash.[10] In its first half-year, the company's bingo business earned $14 million in revenues.[11]

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.[12] In February, 2015, 888 Holdings confirmed it is in "advanced talks" over a reported US$1.47 billion (£750 million) takeover by William Hill. This prompted an 18 percent jump in its share price.[13] The company operates under a gaming licence granted by the government of Gibraltar. Under the terms of the gaming licence 888 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.[14] That year the company revenues began to increase due to mobile customers on its websites, and the company's sites had 17.8 million paying users.[15]

In March 2018, 888 revealed that it had applied for a gaming licence in Malta, due to uncertainty over the UK's exit from the European Union (Brexit) on Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory.[16]

On 2 May 2020, founder Shay Ben-Yitzhak died in an ultralight plane crash near Yakum, Israel at age 52. His 11-year-old son sustained minor injuries.[17]

On 3 March 2021, 888 Holdings appointed Lord Jonathan Mendelsohn as Chairman.[18]

In May 2022, 888 announced that shareholders had approved the acquisition of international bookmakers William Hill. 888 said the deal was scheduled to close in June 2022: the company will pay £1.95 billion: the acquisition includes all of William Hill's UK assets. The deal marked 888 Holdings’ entry into the retail sports betting market with a network of over 1,400 betting shops in the UK.[19]

In May 2022, 888 announced the launch of its Sports Illustrated Sportsbook (SI Sportsbook) in Virginia. Following the launch of the SI Sportsbook in Colorado, in September 2021, the company plans on expanding the brand in more states within the year.[20]

Players in the United States[edit]

On 2 October 2006, 888 Holdings announced that it had indefinitely suspended business with US customers in light of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 by the US Congress three days before.[21] On 14 August 2007, the US Department of Justice asked to recoup all profits made by the company in the US.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

In 2018, 888 expanded its American online poker business by becoming the sole owner of the All American Poker Network.[25]

Controversies and penalties[edit]

Shares in 888 Holdings fell by 8% after the company revealed it was under investigation by the Gambling Commission (UKGC) in May 2017.[26] The company was fined a record £7.8 million in August 2017 after more than 7,000 customers were allowed to retain access to their betting accounts even after they decided to ban themselves.[27][28] Self-excluded players were allowed to place bets for 13 months before 888 Holdings was fined.[29]

In March 2022 888 UK Ltd was fined £9.4 million by the UK Gambling Commission following an investigation which uncovered anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility failings.[30]



888casino is an online gambling site operated by 888 Holdings.[31] It was founded in 1997 and is based in Gibraltar. It is one of the Internet's oldest casinos.[32] In 2013 it became the first exclusively online casino to be licensed in the United States.[33]


888poker is 888's online poker room, launched in July 2002.[34]


888sport is 888's sports betting brand. The online bookmaker was launched in March 2008.[35] The site offers both horse track betting and sports betting, in addition to access to 888 Holdings' other sites. Sports leagues on which bets can be placed include those of Europe, North America, and elsewhere. This includes live betting, where bets can be placed on in-game action, in addition to pre-game bets. The brand is the title sponsor for the 888Sport Tingle Creek Chase,[36] in addition to the 888Sport Magnolia Stakes.[37] In 2010 888sport became the title sponsor of the Fontwell Park Racecourse, renaming it the 888sport Grand Stand.[38] 888sport also works in social media surrounding sporting events, distributing content to its followers form other content sources,[39] and has held online sports video competitions.[40] In March 2019, 888 Holdings paid £15 million for Dublin-based Dedsert Ltd, which provided the sportsbook platform for UK-licensed bookmaker BetBright. 888 CEO Itai Pazner said the acquisition "gives us the missing piece in our proprietary and technology portfolio".[41]

William Hill[edit]

888 has owned international bookmakers William Hill since June 2022.[19]

Bingo brands[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.[42][43][44] 888ladies.com is 888'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.[45] In January 2013, 888ladies.com launched a mobile app for iOS devices, and later for Android devices.[46] The site is known for running frequent competitions.[47]

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.[48] 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[49] and Reading Chronicle.[50] 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'.[51]

Big Brother Bingo launched in January 2012 and is based on the reality television show Big Brother[52] on Channel 5.[53] There are also standard cash prizes and polls on the housemates.[52]

888bingo.com is the second online bingo site by 888, 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. 888's Facebook app Bingo Appy launched in December 2012.[54] 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,[55] with Bingo Friendzy's withdrawal.[56] 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.[57]

Sports Illustrated Sportsbook and Casino[edit]

Sports illustrated Sportsbook is a brand that combines 888 and Sports illustrated and offers players sports betting offerings. The company combines sports offerings from 888 in addition to sports data from Sports illustrated and is currently live in the U.S. states of Colorado, Michigan, and Virginia. On February 9, 2023, SI Sportsbook launched its casino product in Michigan, marking the official expansion of the sports book product into the casino space [58]

Senior management and financial[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.[59]

In March 2012, Brian Mattingley was appointed as Chief Executive of 888 Holdings.[60] In 2015 Mattingley left the position of CEO to assume the position of executive chairman of the board for 888 Holdings.[61]

On 24 January 2019, 888 Holdings elevated Chief Operating Officer Itai Pazner, a 17-year company veteran, to Chief Executive Officer, replacing Itai Frieberger, who replaced Mattingley as CEO in 2015.[62]

It was announced in January 2023 that Pazner would be removed from his role as CEO.[63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2022". 888 Holdings. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  2. ^ "888 company profile". D&B Hoovers. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  3. ^ "888 Holdings History". 888holdingsplc.com. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  4. ^ "888". International Gaming & Wagering Business. 2006. p. 101.
  5. ^ Julia Fields (12 June 2005). "Has internet betting got the upper hand?". The Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Gambling firm to group sites under global 888.com brand". Marketing Week. 5 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  7. ^ James Banks (2014). Online Gambling and Crime: Causes, Controls and Controversies. Ashgate Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 9781472414519. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Ladbrokes in 888 takeover talks". BBC News. 5 November 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Ladbrokes and 888 Holdings amicably end merger talks". Casinoguide.com. 25 April 2007. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  10. ^ Reuters: UK's 888 buys online bingo firm Archived 3 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "A very good year for 888--thanks to casino business". IGWB: International Gaming & Wagering Business. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  12. ^ "888POKER STATISTICS". PokerHistory.eu. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  13. ^ Shaun, Greg (11 February 2015). "888.com in $1.47 Billion Acquisition Talks with William Hill".
  14. ^ Kadhim Shubber; Joel Greenberg; Roger Blitz (3 March 2015). "Israeli pioneers raise stakes in online gambling". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  15. ^ Roger Blitz (4 November 2014). "888 Holdings notches up record revenues". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  16. ^ "888 looks to Malta due to Brexit fears". iGamingBusiness. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Famed online gambling businessman killed in plane crash, son injured". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com.
  18. ^ Pazner, Itai. "888 Holdings Plc ("888" or "the Group") Directorate Change". LSE. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  19. ^ a b "888's Shareholders Approved William Hill's Acquisition". Gambling News. 16 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  20. ^ "888's SI Sportsbook Went Live in Virginia". Gambling News. 26 May 2022. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Forbes: 888 suspends business from US customers". Forbes. 27 October 2006. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  22. ^ "'US probe' knocks gaming shares". BBC. 22 January 2007.
  23. ^ Brian Pempus (24 February 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 23 March 2015.
  24. ^ Dan Katz (12 March 2013). "888 Holdings to Create U.S. Online Poker Network". Poker News Daily. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  25. ^ "888 Strengthens US Online Poker Arm, Buys All American Poker Network". Online Poker Report. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  26. ^ "888 shares hit by Gambling Commission review". BBC News. 15 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Online gambling firm 888 hit with record £7.8m penalty". BBC News. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  28. ^ M.F. (4 October 2017). "How bookmakers deal with winning customers". The Economist.
  29. ^ "888 Holdings fined over £7.8 million". CasinoCity. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  30. ^ "UK Gambling Commission Fines 888 UK £9.4 Million for Putting Vulnerable Customers in Harm's Way". gamblingindustrynews.com. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  31. ^ "European Private Equity Fund Targets 888 Holdings". Pokernews.com. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  32. ^ "888casino". Gambling.org. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  33. ^ Robin Wauters (22 March 2013). ""An historic moment": 888 first online gambling company to win US license". The Next Web.
  34. ^ Alfie Baldwin (9 March 2016). "888 Poker Live in London: 5 things we learned". GQ Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  35. ^ "888sport bookmaker - Bet Report". Bet Report. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  36. ^ "Bullets finished for season as Nicholls plots title defence - Horse Racing News - Racing Post". Racing Post. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  37. ^ "Romsdal returns at Kempton - Racing UK". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  38. ^ "Fontwell Park Racecourse announces dream sponsorship". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  39. ^ "888sport Deliver Knockout Blow on Social Media". Digital Sport. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  40. ^ "888sport Launch Search to acquire Britain's Best Keepy Up". Daily Express. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  41. ^ Reddan, Fiona. "Dublin-based betting group Betbright acquired by 888 in €17.5m deal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  42. ^ "888 gets the nod for online bingo business Wink". Evening Standard. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  43. ^ "888 buys Wink Bingo for up to £60 mln". Reuters. 22 December 2009.
  44. ^ "Bingo industry faces widespread closures". Financial Times.
  45. ^ "Luck be a lady for 888". The Guardian. 12 February 2008.
  46. ^ "888 Holdings Extends Partnerships With Optimal Payments and Optimove". Calvin Ayre. 6 December 2013.
  47. ^ mirror Administrator (11 March 2014). "Thank your grandma for her pearls of wisdom with fantastic prizes from 888ladies.com - Mirror Online". The Daily Mirror.
  48. ^ "888.com acquires Wink Bingo". Marketing Week.
  49. ^ "Prince Albert of Monaco's daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi in the spotlight". Hello!. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  50. ^ "Can you picture the perfect breakfast?". Reading Chronicle. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014.
  51. ^ Alan Graham (6 August 2014). "888Poker Attracting More Players Despite Global Decline". Poker News Report. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  52. ^ a b "888.com rolls out Big Brother Bingo". MediaWeek.
  53. ^ "Saturday 27 July". Channel 5.
  54. ^ Nick Fletcher (12 December 2012). "888 jumps after unveiling Facebook deal, as market moves higher on eurozone and US optimism". The Guardian.
  55. ^ Ahmed, Murad. "Facebook takes a gamble on 888 casino deal". The Times.
  56. ^ "Gamesys pulls real-money Facebook app". egrmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 21 July 2014.
  57. ^ "888 Holdings climbs on Facebook agreement". The Telegraph. 12 December 2012.
  58. ^ "Sports Illustrated (SI) Casino Quietly Launches in Michigan". pokerindustrypro.com. 9 February 2023.
  59. ^ "Gigi Levy: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Archived from the original on 16 October 2009. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  60. ^ "888 to Appoint Mattingley as Permanent CEO, Times Says". Bloomberg L.P. 25 March 2012. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012.
  61. ^ Jason Reynolds (29 August 2014). "888 to Expand as CEO Mattingley Steps Down". Poker Sites. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  62. ^ "888 Holdings CEO to step down". Reuters. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  63. ^ Fletcher, Robert (30 January 2023). "Pazner removed as 888 chief executive". iGB. Retrieved 30 April 2023.

External links[edit]

  • Official website: corporate.888.com
  • 888 on Reuters