A Positive First Quarter for 888
By Marianne Lambert
Those who invested on the back of 888.comís plans for providing in-flight casino entertainment will be delighted to see that the full-year results show pre-tax profits up 34 percent. Net gaming revenues increased 7 percent to $289.9m, and the company ends the year with a balance sheet of $114.4m. First quarter results are also excellent, with net gaming revenues up 19 percent from last year, to $47m.

While the end of merger talks with Ladbrokes led to a slight drop in 888.comís shares, the mood at 888.com has remained buoyant, as executive Gigi Levy told Reuters.

'We don't look at ourselves as anybody's lunch -- with that very fast Q1 growth, we should be growing ourselves and acquiring other companies.Ē

One of the secrets of 888.comís success is its diversification. While other companies have suffered from the loss of US customers due to legislative change, 888.com has expanded, providing a wide range of games in a number of other countries.

Levy was particularly optimistic about Bingo. Last month it acquired Globalcom for $43m, with plans for rapid expansion, initially into Spain.

Levy added, 'Bingo is huge in central Europe and Latin America. There's huge growth opportunity that nobody's tapped yet -- Bingo will not stay in the UK.'

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