Belfast Telegraph

Internet bookie 888 slumps to £13.3m loss after Gambling Commission fine

Online bookmaker 888 has been pushed into a half-year loss following a sanction for serious failings in its handling of vulnerable customers.

The group recorded a pre-tax loss of 17.3 million US dollars (£13.3 million) in the six months to June 30, compared with a 27.8 million US dollars (£21.5 million) profit last year.

888 was stung by 50.8 million US dollars (£39.3 million) of exceptional charges, including 5.5 million US dollars (£4.2 million) set aside in connection with a Gambling Commission probe into its treatment of vulnerable customers.

The investigation found "significant flaws" in the bookmaker's social responsibility processes and 888 agreed to pay £7.8 million in total as a settlement.

It also took a 45.3 million US dollars (£35 million) charge linked to a potential historic VAT bill in Germany.

Total revenue increased 3%, or 9% on a constant currency basis, to 270.1 million US dollars (£209 million) in the period, helped by sports gambling,

Sports sales rose 35% to 33.7 million US dollars (£26 million) and 888 said it benefited from launching into Italy and live betting.

Mobile also drove growth and accounted for 69% of UK revenue.

Boss Itai Frieberger said: "Trading in Q3 has started well and in line with the board's expectations.

"Underpinned by this momentum as well as the proven strengths of the group's business model, the board remains confident that 888 will achieve further progress and deliver its expectations for the full year."

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