Shares in FTSE 250 online gambling firm 888 Holdings (LON:888) shot upwards by 13.93% to 172.04p (as of 15:05 BST) after the firm posted a pre-close statement for 2020 to date. Management said that the company had continued to trade well during the lockdown and revenues for the year to date were up by 34%. As a result, the company believes that EBITDA for the 2020 full year will be ahead of prior expectations, but warned that there were still headwinds to face during the second half.
CEO Itai Panzer commented: “We are pleased with 888’s trading during the year to date which has resulted in the Board now anticipating that adjusted EBITDA for 2020 will be significantly ahead of its prior expectations. This performance builds on 888’s strong customer acquisition during 2019 and our continued focus during recent years on entertaining a greater number of recreational customers.
“We have delivered a particularly encouraging performance in Poker which reflects the strength of our product and ongoing focus on providing a safe and entertaining destination for recreational poker players. Whilst Sport has been impacted during the year to date by the cancellation of events, we have seen a better than expected customer reaction to the gradual return of sports events during recent weeks and, during June so far, our sport revenue run-rate has been ahead of June 2019.
“Our global teams have demonstrated fantastic flexibility and commitment as they have had to adapt to new ways of working over recent months. I am pleased to report that we are now in the early phases of enabling some of our teams to return to our offices whilst continuing to ensure that we prioritise their well-being and follow all relevant guidelines.
“888 is well positioned to continue to benefit from a potential long-term shift towards online services that we have seen accelerate across several consumer industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain vigilant about our responsibilities to protect customers and prevent gambling-related harm. We continue to take a number of proactive measures to communicate with players about safe gambling and invest in our products and technology to ensure that we always deliver a fun and, above all, safe place to play“.