The easing of lockdown restrictions ahead of July 19th’s “Freedom Day” in the United Kingdom was always going to impact online gambling. As physical casinos closed for business and increasing numbers of Brits found themselves either working from home or simply spending more time indoors, digital gambling providers were among the big winners. Now that restrictions are being removed, it makes sense that online gambling may take something of a hit.
This seems to be the case. Betting group 888 reported that their average daily revenues have fallen by around 20% since retailers were permitted to reopen in the UK on May 17th. This resulted in a year-on-year reduction in revenues for the three months leading up to June 30th.
Expected Reductions in Online Gambling Profits
It is expected that this shrinkage in profits will continue in the wake of ‘total reopening’ in Britain from July 19th. However, prospects remain hopeful for the betting group and other firms operating in this industry.
888’s chief executive, Itai Pazner, told Reuters, “The strong momentum from the first quarter of 2021 continued into the second quarter, albeit with a year-on-year growth rate moderating in light of stronger comparable from the previous year.”
Unprecedented Levels of Lockdown Growth Continue to Provide Optimism
There is certainly good reason for this optimism. As recently as March, 888 was experiencing huge revenue boosts as a result of lockdown across the UK and beyond, reporting global year-on-year increases of 52%, peaking at $849.7 million. Revenues in the UK alone grew by over 60%, while online casino revenues also grew by around the same percentage.
These vast increases were partly due to new customer sign-ups. Almost 1.5 million new customers signed up for the gambling service in 2020 — more than in previous years. This, in turn, led to an adjusted profit increase of more than 100% and a stock price surge of 6%. Dividends were quadrupled to 12p per share.
Taking a Longer-term View
While it seems that the online gambling and sports betting markets have made enough profit in the last year to tide them over during any lean periods that may follow, there is certainly more to the situation than this simplified view. As customers become increasingly digitally savvy and begin to favor convenience and ease of access over other aspects, the online gambling landscape will surely continue to flourish.
Organizations such as the 888 Group are well-established operations that are built upon a robust business model. The fact that 888 was able to capitalize on profit surges with the introduction of a myriad of new games and products demonstrates this. With a longer-term view in place, we can expect the 888 Group — and their competitors in this field — to weather any minor storms that may follow the complete easing of lockdown measures in July and continue to display strong growth for the rest of the year and beyond.