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888 Poker Revenue Jumps 58 Percent in 2011

"Exceptional Year” Sees 888 Transform Its Online Poker Business

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888 Poker today confirmed its financial results for 2011 which saw poker revenue leap 58 percent to US$61 million from US$38 million in 2010.

The increase has seen the company rise from 13th to 4th in global liquidity rankings while active customers grew 58 percent to 318,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011 and new player recruitment up 77 percent in the full year.

The company said of its poker performance, “Poker has had an exceptional year, achieving significant growth despite a declining online poker market, through effectively pursuing our strategy of focusing on recreational players. The launch of Poker 6 in June 2010 has been transformational, and we have reaped the rewards across 2011.

“888’s poker offering is now an accepted industry leader. With an intuitive usability that targets the casual player and innovative features that appeal to a broad demographic.

“This surge in activity has been the result of constant investment in our poker strategy to build a platform that appeals to players of all abilities. 888 has developed a diverse network in which players can enjoy the game regardless of skill level, and offers customized promotions and communications targeted for every stage of a player’s journey.

“This leads to higher player retention and, in turn, increased lifetime value. Poker 6 is a technically sophisticated product that can manage a host of activities: matching marketing campaigns; monitoring product performance and delivering bespoke customer interfaces.”

However the company has been embroiled in a number of controversies involving its poker ambassador Shane Warne and the UK advertising regulator in recent months.

Elsewhere, discussing its business relationship with Caesars Interactive Entertainment through its business-to-business division, Dragonfish, in the U.S. and its plans for doing business in regulated markets there the company said, “Our reputation as a trusted, leading international operator was demonstrated in March 2011, with the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission suitability finding for the commercial relationship between Caesars Interactive Entertainment and Dragonfish.

“More significantly, in January 2012, the partnership was extended into the United States. The first strand of 888’s US strategy, the agreement will allow the launch of a real money offering as soon as either Federal or state based regulation is finalised, upon licencing by gaming authorities.

“Dragonfish is in pole position for the US market, and we have a strong platform on which to roll out our cutting- edge, turnkey solutions to other potential partners as the market opens.”

888 Holdings Plc saw overall revenue grow 26 percent to US$331.1 million from US$262.1 million in 2010. However expenses rose also and, as a result, profit fell to US$13 million from US$15.1 million a year earlier.

Analyst Daniel Stewart & Co. predicted a strong stock performance as a result of the largely positive trading data saying, “Given the strong performance we are putting the stock under review to assess our forecasts for FY12 and FY13, but clearly the outperformance is positive and implies an increase in forecasts and we expect the stock to trade strongly off the back of the news.”