888 Holdings, Inc. is a Gibraltar-based Internet gambling operator with a huge footprint in Europe and an eye on the budding US regulated market. Last month 888 made a major move towards American shores when they applied for a New Jersey online gambling operators’ license.
Given 888’s partnerships with American gaming companies like Caesars, it’s a move that could prove to be very interesting for the budding US igaming business. 888’s westward expansion could inspire other operators to go it alone in the Colonies.
Here’s a look at what 888 is up to and what it means for affiliates.
Casino Affiliates & American Operators
What role casino affiliates will play in regulated American igaming is a question that’s still very much up in the air. Though regulators in Nevada and New Jersey definitely have affiliates on their radar, they seem more focused on bigger players (picture PokerStrategy.com instead of your average CAP reader).
There’s also been some concern amongst affiliates that land-based casino operators, with their already established marketing machines, won’t smaller affiliates at all. With just about every big American casino jumping in the social casino market, that’s hardly an empty fear.
These factors all make 888’s potential entry into New Jersey, Nevada and/or Delaware a tantalizing tidbit for affiliates.
Where Does 888 Fit In?
Unlike the big casino brands, 888 has long relied on casino affiliates to bring in customers. It also seems safe to say that any casino 888 might purchase in Atlantic City (like the Atlantic Club?) won’t have the same high powered marketing department as the Borgata or Caesars Palace, so affiliates could still be part of the equation here.
Whether 888 passes muster with NJ gaming regulators or not, the company will still be part of the US igaming scene thanks to a licensing deal with Caesars Interactive.
Yes, it appears as though 888 could be competing with its own product in New Jersey and no, says company CEO Brian Mattingley. In a press release touting 888’s American efforts, Mattingley said simply, “We are providing the platform for Caesars but we are providing the one-stop shop that 888 is renowned for across Europe.”
He’s also excited about 888’s chances of getting a toehold in the three states offering regulated igaming saying, “We are extremely well positioned in the US and are working with the regulators in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey as these three states become ready to open.”
888 is poised to inhabit a pretty unique position in the US market and they may stay that way for a while.
Other European and UK operators have been less inclined to do anything but partner up in America. William Hill top boss Ralph Topping went so far as saying that such a move could create a, “bloodbath,” for gaming companies.
Expect to hear plenty more about this story in the months ahead.