|There were encouraging signs this week at Gibraltar-based online gambling group 888.com that the loss of its U.S. business has been offset by aggressive expansion into other markets. |
The group saw revenue from gaming rise by 7% in 2006, despite the U.S. shutdown. 888.com revealed that net gaming revenue for the 12 months to December 31 reached $290 million (£148 million) compared with $271 million the year before.
888 said it was diversifying geographically in the wake of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the U.S. law which effectively banned internet financial transactions with online gambling sites.
Revenue from non-U.S. operations rose 28 percent to $157 million. However, after suspension of 888's US business in October 2006 average daily first time depositors fell by 37 percent. Nevertheless, the online gambling giant reported solid growth, with 3.6 million members now betting online, and a 35 percent increase in real money memberships in its final quarter results for 2006.
'We are encouraged by the strong current trading and remain confident for a successful full year outcome,' Chief Executive Officer Gigi Levy said in a statement.
Shares of 888 have dropped 24 percent since September 29th, the last day of trading before the U.S. law was passed.