July 26, 2008 (OnlineCasinoReports.com) — After serious setbacks in the wake of the UIGEA of 2006, the online gaming industry is coming back. One company’s story is a good example of this rebound.
888 Holdings has long been known as a leader in the online gambling world. With its affiliates, in the poker, bingo, and sports betting niches, 888 has shown creativity and ingenuity in adapting to the ever-changing environment of the Internet, and consistently given its customers one of the best gaming experiences available. In the wake of the UIGEA, the US Congress's 2006 law aimed at closing the market to US players, these strengths have helped 888 on its road to recovery.
Describing 2007, the first full year of operations after the Congressional action, as a "year of transition," 888's chief executive is optimistic about the future. While the casino saw its player base halved in the short run, revenues and profits have rebounded well in the UK and European markets. The 'niche' branches, bingo rooms and sports betting especially, have shown strong performances in the last year.
The industry at large
What 888 Casino has experienced is a microcosm of how the online gambling industry generally has done in the last 2 years. Yes, there was a hard hit in the fall of 2006, when the UIGEA took effect, and yes, the largest market was severely reduced. Many casinos simply pulled out of the US market altogether; others have tried to edge their way back in. Both reactions were risky, and neither has brought the industry back to where it was.
There is room of optimism, however. The recovery in industry growth and profits has regained much of the ground originally lost. By switching to the UK and European markets, the online gambling industry has also, albeit unintentionally, taken advantage of the sagging dollar; profits in pounds and euros are naturally higher when converted to dollars. And the casinos continue to diversify their game offerings, and attract new customers.
The road ahead
For the player, this recovery means that 888, and the online casino world generally, is here to stay. Governments may act to regulate or restrict the casinos, but if enough people want to play, than it simply cannot be prevented. For the casinos, it means that while there may still be a long road ahead, to match the pre-UIGEA performance, the hardest part of that road may now lie behind.