888 to Sell UK Bingo Biz to Focus on US Expansion and Core Operations

Posted on: December 16, 2021, 10:29h. 

Last updated on: December 16, 2021, 01:53h.

888 Holdings is turning in their bingo cards. The gaming operator announced yesterday that it is selling its B2C and B2B bingo businesses to a UK company so it can focus on its core business and US growth.

Itai Pazner
888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner, pictured above. He is leading the company in new directions as it focuses on its core businesses and US growth. (Image: Gaming Intelligence)

Online bingo isn’t a huge money-maker for most operators, even if it helps them fill out their list of options.

Still, it requires resources for it to be maintained properly, and 888 wants to use those resources elsewhere. It has reached an agreement to sell the segment to Broadway Gaming Group’s Saphalata Holdings Ltd for US$50 million.

The deal with Broadway gives the latter the entire package – 888’s exclusive technology, its assets and all related brands. While the segment may have helped shore up operations during COVID-19, the company feels that it’s time to move back to its online betting and gaming options.

“By combining these with our existing business and brands, which include ‘Butlers Bingo,’ we will be able to achieve an even stronger global footprint in key regulated bingo markets,” Broadway Gaming CEO David Butler said.

All Cash Offer

Broadway is making the purchase through a cash- and debt-free deal, according to the announcement. When the sale is complete, the buyer will pay the $50 million, with another $4 million in potential earnout payable within six months after closing.

The arrangement is expected to finalize sometime during the second quarter of next year. However, it will only be possible if Saphalata is able to secure a license for the new assets in the UK.

Broadway already operates a number of licensed bingo sites. The company is behind Bingo Diamond, Butlers Bingo, Casino of Dreams, Dotty Bingo and others.

888 Redirecting Energy to US Market

Some operators feel that offering bingo is a viable option. Flutter Entertainment announced last month that it was going to purchase UK-based Tombola Limited for over US$541 million.

But 888 is looking to expand its other operations instead. It reached an agreement in September with Caesars Entertainment to purchase its non-US William Hill assets and wants to focus on that. William Hill operates 1,400 betting shops and has over two million active users in the UK. Some trimming down is likely as William Hill transitions, and 888 is exploring how best to boost its sports betting attention.

Redirecting resources away from bingo will also allow 888 to focus on what made it one of the leading global iGaming companies – casino, poker, and sports betting operations. The company has been emphasizing its desire to participate more in the US market in all of the verticals.

Earlier this year, 888 announced that it was teaming up with Sports Illustrated (SI) to launch an SI-branded sportsbook in Colorado. That expanded its footprint in the state.

The company already operates in New Jersey and has secured licenses in Indiana, Iowa, and Virginia, as well. It was also the first online operator to receive an online poker license in Nevada. In total, 888 has market deals or licenses in nine US states.