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Did 888 Holdings just acquire a sports betting platform that it will use throughout the US?
The online gambling company announced on Monday morning that it had acquired the sports betting platform of Irish online bookmaker BetBright for £15 million ($19.8 million).
As well as purchasing what 888 describes as “high-quality and scalable sportsbook technology,” the deal also involves taking BetBright’s risk management, product and trading capabilities. Meanwhile, BetBright’s Dublin headquarters will be integrated into the group.
London-listed 888 believes the acquisition will strengthen its product and technology capabilities and will support the long-term development strategy for its sportsbook, 888sport.
Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said:
“It gives the group the missing piece in our proprietary product and technology portfolio and will enable 888 to own proprietary, end-to-end solutions across the four major online gaming verticals [sports, casino, poker and bingo].
“With 888sport becoming an increasingly established and popular worldwide sports betting destination, we believe it is the right time to take ownership of our full sports betting proposition. We are confident that this acquisition will increase the group’s long-term prospects and differentiation in the growing global sports betting market.”
Wagering on BetBright stopped on Tuesday after the announcement of the acquisition.
Founded in 2012 and headed up since then by CEO Marcus Brennan, BetBright is a challenger betting brand in the highly competitive and mature UK market.
While the operator’s proprietary betting platform has been bought by 888, it is thought that BetBright will continue as a B2C customer of 888. Swedish sports betting supplier Kambi, which has been the surprise package in the nascent US sports betting market since PASPA’s repeal last May, currently powers 888’s sportsbook, 888sport.
News of the acquisition was broadly welcomed, with UK-based analysts Regulus Partners describing the move as an “elegant” route to “owning a betting platform at a relatively low cost.”
Regulus estimates 888sport to be five times the size of the BetBright brand. By owning its own platform, it will give 888 greater flexibility and control over its 888sport offering. It’s also a strategic move ahead of US expansion.
On the flipside, 888 acquiring its own betting platform resulted in a significant sell-off of Kambi stock, with the price slumping around 20 percent in the hours following the announcement. 888 is thought to be Kambi’s second most important client and a key strategic partner, particularly as regulated sports betting sweeps the US.
The Stockholm-listed supplier, which employs around 700 people worldwide and is set to open its first US-based office in Q2, also powers sportsbooks for the likes of:
International clients include Unibet, LeoVegas, Mr Green and ATG.
888 said it will begin the integration process of BetBright’s technology into the group as soon as is practically feasible. There will then follow a phased and market-by-market rollout of its proprietary sportsbook solution once the integration is completed, although no indication was given as to which markets will take priority.
888, which is the only operator with a foothold in all three US online gambling states (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey), introduced 888sport in New Jersey last September, joining its established 888casino and 888poker brands in the NJ online casino market. Two months later, 888 inked a sponsorship deal with the New York Jets.
The BetBright deal is the third acquisition executed by 888 in recent months. The company shelled out $28m to purchase the remaining 53 percent in the All American Poker Network (AAPN) as well as £18m for a number of bingo brands owned by JPJ Group.