888 Holdings is a publicly listed company, on the London Stock Exchange, which develops online gambling related products and operates a number of gambling sites.
The 888 brand is well-known and trusted by online gamblers.
In addition to operating its own gambling sites. it also licenses its products to partners all over the world.
The company began in 1997, and was originally called Virtual Holdings Limited.
On this page we will take a look at the history of 888.
Virtual Holdings Limited
In the mid-1990s the online casino industry was just getting started. There were a number of new companies starting up, offering gambling services and using technology that had never been seen before.
Many of the companies that began during this era didn’t survive, as the industry took off and major players entered the market. Several of them not only survived, they went on to become major players in the industry.
One company in particular that survived was Virtual Holdings Limited, which is today known as 888 Holdings. It was formed in 1997 by two sets of brothers: Avi and Aaron Shaked and Shay and Ron Bet Yitzchak.
Based in the British Virgin Isles, it created a subsidiary company in Antigua where it gained a gaming license. The four founders established an administrative and technical center in Antigua and began to build what would become an online gambling giant.
In May of 1997, the company was ready to launch its first product, Casino-on-Net, which soon became one of the most popular online casinos and attracted a loyal customer base.
The Evolution of 888
In 1998, a new company was established in Israel named Random Logic Limited. This company was to provide research, development, and marketing services to 888.
The goal was to reach as many new markets as possible, using new technologies and media to offer the group’s products directly to users.
888’s approach was successful, and the company began to grow.
By 2002, the company was ready to launch its second online casino brand. Reef Club Casino was launched in June as their second online casino brand.
The 888 brand was born in the same year and the launch of Pacific Poker marked the company’s first move into online poker. An additional marketing office was opened in the United Kingdom as the expansion continued.
During the following year, 888 obtained a gaming license in Gibraltar through another subsidiary company Cassava Enterprises.
Its servers and its customer support center were moved from Antigua to Gibraltar as the company sought to concentrate its operations from this region. Further additions to its range of products followed, and 888 had firmly established itself as a leader in the market.
888 Goes Public
In 2005, 888 Holdings was ready to go public. The Chief Executive of 888, John Anderson, said at the time that he believed it was the right point to merge all the group’s commercial interests and start taking steps towards increasing the value of the company.
In September, the group completed a successful first offering of its shares and was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
In the same year, 888.com was voted the Best Casino Operator
of the Year and Best Overall Online Gaming Operators.
The judges who awarded this title said:
“888 is more responsive to its members’ requirements while ensuring its games remain innovative and 100% secure.
Its member support is also impressive with a 24 hour service via chat, email, or telephone in 11 different languages.”
Two major developments took place in 2006: the company entered merger discussions with Ladbrokes right when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in the United States.
As a result of the UIGEA, 888 Holdings announced that it would no longer be offering its services to players from the United States. Meanwhile, discussions with Ladbrokes appeared to be progressing.
Ladbrokes was one of the United Kingdom’s largest gambling organizations and a merger with 888 Holdings seemed very likely at one point. However, in 2007 the two companies announced that they had unanimously agreed not to continue with discussions.
This was partly due to fears of potential legal action by the US government and partly due to changes in tax laws in the UK.
In 2007, 888 Holdings made its first acquisition, purchasing Globalcom. Globalcom was a leading online bingo company and 888 clearly had plans to move into that market. In the same year, it was also moving into the business to business area of online gambling, and it entered its first white label agreements.
When 888Ladies was launched in 2008, 888’s move into bingo was confirmed. With the launch of 888Sport at the same time, the company now offered all four of the main online gambling segments: sports betting, casino, poker, and bingo.
In 2009, 888 rebranded its business to business division. Dragonfish was formed, with the express purpose of helping the group deliver online results beyond its own operations.
Dragonfish’s Total Gaming Service was going to allow partner sites to optimize their player experiences and benefit from a wide range of services, including marketing, operations, e-payment, and much more.
888 Holdings continues to develop relationships with a wide range of companies; it also is trying to diversify and improve its various products and platforms.
It’s currently one of the front runners in the US market, because online gambling regulation is in the early stages of being introduced in the region.
The 888 poker network is currently the third largest online, in terms of numbers of players.