|The world's largest online casino has unveiled plans to float on the stock market and cash in on the flurry of investor interest in Internet gaming.|
Cassava Enterprises said on Thursday it intends to seek a full listing on the London Stock Exchange for its online casino 888.com.
888 Holdings will follow the example of poker giant PartyGaming by listing its shares with a total value expected to be around £700 million.
The firm attracts more visitors than rival online casino operators and the flotation will bring a windfall for its two controlling Israeli families.
Avi and Aharon Shaked are said to own about 70% of the company in a family trust, with the Ben-Yitzak family holding 30%.
Profits are soaring at 888. It announced pre-tax profits more than double last year's at $41 million (£22.5 million) and profits before tax earnings in the first half of this year are a third higher at $24.5 million.
Chief executive John Anderson, formerly of High Street betting giant Ladbrokes, said 888 concentrates more on online blackjack and roulette, which he believes still has several years of large growth. The company is also the world's fourth largest poker room operator. Anderson said: “Floating 888 will not only enhance our profile but also our credibility and the important 'trust-me' factor.”