888 Holdings Public Limited Company is one of the most popular online gaming entertainment companies in the world. 888 owns and operates several successful online gaming websites and offers businesses customizable online gaming solutions. 888 operates under its subsidiary Cassava Enterprises.
Israeli brothers and entrepreneurs Avi and Aaron Shaked, and brothers Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, launched 888 Holdings in 1997 under the name Virtual Holdings Limited. The company set up its administrative center in Antigua and obtained a gaming license from the Caribbean Island as well. 888’s first online gambling website, Casino-on-Net, was launched soon after, in May 1997.
In 1998, the company founded the company Random Logic Limited out of Tel-Aviv, Israel to provide marking and research and development services to 888.
In 2002, 888 launched Reef Club Casino and Pacific Poker, as well as the “888.com” brand. Additionally, the company launched an additional marketing office, Virtual Marketing Services Limited, to focus on advertising in the UK.
888 Holdings obtained a gaming license in Gibraltar in July 2003 and subsequently moved their administrative headquarters from Antigua to Gibraltar.
As other online gaming companies were making their IPOs, 888 decided to go public. In 2005 they had their IPO on the main market of the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of £590 million (roughly $890 million USD).
In September 2006, in the wake of the United States Congress’s passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, 888 Holdings ceased all business with US customers. In 2007, the United States Department of Justice recovered $120 million in profits made by 888 Holdings in the US.
In 2007, 888 established their B2B division, which was later branded “Dragonfish Total Gaming Services”. Dragonfish works with business partners to design and develop their online gaming platforms.
Also in 2007, 888 acquired online bingo company Globalcom Limited. With its revenues increasing by $56 million from 2006, 888 Holdings had become one of the largest companies on the London Stock Exchange. By 2008, 888 Holdings was elevated to the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 250 Index, which is reserved for the 101st to the 350th largest companies listed on the exchange. The company’s revenue continued to increase as it acquired new markets.
In 2010, 888 renamed its sites to reflect the 888.com brand. 888 had four sites, each focused on a different area of gambling: 888poker, 888casino, 888bingo, and 888sports.
888poker, launched in 2002 as Pacific Poker, offers several poker variations, including Texas Hold’em, Seven-card Stud, and Omaha. Players can enjoy free play games in addition to games where real money is at stake. The site offers both a software download as well as a non-downloadable online play version and is Microsoft Windows and Mac compatible.
888casino offers traditional online casino games such as slots, video poker, craps, roulette, and blackjack. Players can download 888casino’s software or play instantly on the web with no download required. 888casino is easily accessible from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
When it comes to online bingo, 888 Holdings owns several themed bingo sites, each featuring several variations of bingo games available on the web with no download required. Many of 888’s bingo sites offer slots and instant-win games as well.
The bingo site 888ladies was launched in 2008. Emphasizing social aspects such as in-game chats, 888ladies grew to be wildly popular. The site offers 90-ball, 75-ball, and 5-line games as well as instant games, and a few casino games. 888ladies has an iPhone and Andriod app in addition to being available to play on the web with no download required. 888ladies won the title of Online Bingo Operator of the Year in the IGA Gaming Awards in 2012 and the Best Bingo Marketing Campaign at the EGR Operator Marketing and Innovation Awards in 2014.
888bingo was launched in 2009 and offers a variety of bingo games as well as slots, video poker, instant games, and table games. In December 2009, 888 acquired Wink Online Bingo, comprising of several online bingo sites, from Daub Limited. The bingo networks acquired included the popular site Wink Bingo and the fashion-themed site, Posh Bingo. Additional bingo networks operated by 888 include Big Brother Bingo, launched in 2012, based on the Big Brother reality series, as well London-themed RedBus Bingo.
In December 2012, 888 launched Bingo Appy, a Facebook app available in the UK which offers real money bingo games as well as freebie games. Bingo Appy is the only real money bingo app currently available on Facebook.
888sport, launched in March 2008, offers both sports betting and horse track betting. The site features European and North America sports leagues and offers both pre-game betting and live betting on in-game action. Although the horse track betting focuses on UK race tracks, it also includes a few international race tracks.
In March 2013, 888 Holdings was granted an online poker license by the Nevada Gaming Commission. 888 was the first strictly online gaming company to obtain a license in the United States. Brian Mattingley, Chief Executive Officer of 888 said, “This is a historic moment for 888. This is the first time a company uniquely providing online gaming has been licensed by any US jurisdiction.”
Partnering with Caesars Interactive Entertainment, 888 launched WSOP.com, a World Series of Poker web spin-off. Along with Wynn Resorts Limited, 88 launched the All American Poker Network (AAPN), a joint venture between 888 and Avenue Capital Group.
In May 2013, 888 was selected by the Delaware State Lottery to operate their Internet Gaming System and Services division following the state’s legislation legalizing and regulating online poker, slots, bingo, and video lottery games.
After New Jersey opened up online gaming within their borders, 888 was granted a license to operate online poker and online casino sites in New Jersey as well. Together with partner Caesars Interactive Entertainment, 888 offers 888poker.com, WSOP.com, HarrahsCasino.com, 888.com, and 888casino.com in New Jersey.
In March 2015 888 announced the launch of their Multi-State Poker Network (MSPN), allowing players in Nevada and Delaware to play each other at the same tables. Delaware Governor Jack Markell said at the announcement, “Today is the start of an exciting time for iGaming and for Delaware. The MSPN is the first multi-jurisdiction poker network of its kind in the world. We now offer an online poker option that is more competitive and more enjoyable for its users, thanks to this collaborative effort.”
As of 2015, 888 Holdings operates one gaming sites in over 150 countries worldwide, including several legal gaming sites in the United States. As additional US states open up online poker and online gaming within their borders, 888’s presence in the US will certainly continue to grow.