One of the market leaders from Europe who surely is a veteran in the online gaming world has decided to stake their claim and get a foot into the emerging online gambling market in the US. Just recently 888.com a publically traded company on the London stock exchange who already has an agreement with Caesars Interactive Entertainment in the US, is applying for a license in the state of New Jersey. Already well known in the online gambling industry for great casino and poker products 888.com was one of the companies that pulled out of the US way back in 2006 when the UIGEA was passed.
Long ago they had committed to the US market but like many companies back then had to pull out and focus on other emerging markets like Europe. The company is known for their “one stop” complete gaming technology software infrastructure and market delivery know how. But now that the US is starting to ease their stance on banning online gambling ever since the Department of Justice decided back in December 2011 to clarify, just what they thought was illegal, and that was sports betting.
That means other forms of gambling like casino, bingo and poker fall under that grey area category and are now technically legal. Now such states as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are getting into the regulation market and wanting to be the ones who carry the torch of legalized online gambling. This means that companies like 888.com, who have deep pockets are making the return to the US and that includes partnerships and being providers and operators with the technological know how.
888 CEO Brian Mattingley, thinks this is an excellent opportunity to get into the market early and target New Jersey gamblers with their own brand while providing the technology to Caesars as well. "We are providing the platform for Caesars but we are providing the one-stop shop that 888 is renowned for across Europe," he said. "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," he added.
Even though they are one of the biggest gaming companies in the world and getting in early to the US, this does not mean the picture is all-good. Companies from all over the world have been waiting for this time to come and will be setting their sites for this market or have already got their license for Nevada and are applying for New Jersey as well. Ralph Topping, chief executive of leading British bookmaker William Hill, warned last week that fierce initial competition for consumers in New Jersey risked creating a "bit of a bloodbath." The US is considered by many industry leaders as the “Holy Grail” of the online gambling industry and has been chomping at the bit for this market to open up and is hoping that a federal bill will finally come.
But at this time it looks like it will be a state by state roll out, as a federal online gambling bill seems like it could take a while with no end in site. It’s the companies like 888.com that are starting to benefit on stock price before the ink has dried on the state applications. 888 shares added 1.4 percent to 171.9p by 0755 GMT on Tuesday, valuing the company at just under 600 million pounds. The other big boys like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Playtech, Microgaming and a whole host of others are planning or already in the US with licenses.
The way this whole gambling market share battle will commence will be with the market dollars and power to make the biggest impression on the US consumer. By the time there is a federal bill, these big companies will already be on their way to becoming household names in the market and more will be on the way. It’s obvious that 888.com wants to play on both tables of the B2B and the B2C marketplaces when it comes to the US.
They already are well known to provide white label products through their DragonFish B2B brand and have the market power in Europe and abroad to form alliances throughout the world. As far as the way the US is looking there will be market leaders in each section like casino, poker, bingo and the early birds will have to prove themselves to the consumers and business leaders. Companies like PokerStars will be aiming to own the online poker market and someone will have to lay claim to the casino market.
By the looks of it 888.com wants to be that company. It’s going to take more than getting in early and forming alliances will be the way to go for a company like 888.com. Next on the radar will be "merger mania" in the US online gambling industry and that just what might happen when the big boys come into town.