In perhaps the strongest language yet, executives at 888 Holdings, parent company of the troubled 888poker online poker product, promised that product development, marketing investment and ultimate growth are still coming, against a backdrop of falling KPIs across the board.
During its H1 2019 financial presentation this week, the group reported revenue of just $24.5 million in its consumer-facing 888poker vertical.
It represents 24% decline year-over-year and comes off the back of a 28% drop in H1.
“The Group’s poker results have been impacted by factors including increased competitor marketing activity in some of the group’s markets as well as the unilateral withdrawal of certain payment providers and ISP blocking in several unregulated markets,” the group stated.
It faces stiff competition from GVC, which is investing and marketing its partypoker brand heavily, along with upstart online poker rooms like GGNetwork. Market difficulties include the withdrawal from Slovakia, and tougher operating conditions in Norway, Russia and the Netherlands.
On the call, 888 CFO Aviad Kobrine also blamed currency fluctuations, something that is not reported in the group’s financials “because the result is unreliable,” he stated.
“There is no doubt there has been an impact to our poker business from the strength of the dollar, but it is not quantified [in these numbers],” he told investors.
Putting a positive spin on figures, 888 highlighted that, “encouragingly,” online poker revenue in Italy had “increased 38% year on year in H1 2019.”
However, that comes from an extremely low base—it went live in mid-January 2018 from effectively a cold start.
It also highlighted the “stabilization” of revenue, with a 26% sequential increase on H2 2018. Yet seasonal growth from H2 into H1 is very common, regardless of the underlying trend.