Seeking a turnaround in its sluggish online poker business, 888Holdings, the parent company of 888poker, is enacting several changes intended to give players a better overall experience.
The company is introducing a new generation of its poker platform, Poker 8, which will be unveiled incrementally over the next few months. Desktop users are the first area of focus.
With the upgrades, 888 aims for a cleaner design with improved graphics, a smoother transition allowing multi-table players to switch between tables, and unspecified enhancements to the desktop lobby and mobile platforms, 888Holdings said in a statement.
Players have frequently lamented that the current 888poker platform needed improved graphics and functionality. 888Holdings hopes its new platform addresses those criticisms.
The goal is to make Poker 8 more engaging to players, and the company said it will listen to player feedback regarding additional tweaks going forward.
“Over the coming months, all players will benefit from additional upgrades and improvements to our next generation poker platform and we’ll be taking on board customer feedback about the new features,” 888Holdings senior vice president of B2C Guy Cohen said.
“Once the rollout is complete, we believe our best-in-class platform will offer the most entertaining and engaging experience on the market.”
888poker, though it’s the world’s second biggest online poker room behind PokerStars, has struggled recently to retain its market share.
According to its annual audited financial results, 888poker had a 37 percent decline in online poker revenues last year.
The 888Holdings announcement pertaining to its poker franchise follows last week’s announcement that the London-based company reached a deal with JPJ Group to purchase its Mandalay operating business, including assets for various bingo-related entities. The final purchase price was £18 million (about $23.7 million), with $15.8 million due up front and $7.9 million in September.
By acquiring JPJ Group’s bingo-related assets, 888Holdings is positioning itself to enter the United Kingdom bingo market and expand across the global regulated market, 888Holdings CEO Itai Pazner said.
“This expansion is underpinned by organic growth initiatives supported by exploring value-enhancing M&A,” Pazner said.
“Having been developed on Dragonfish, the Group’s first-class B2B platform, we are confident that consolidating these brands into our existing B2C portfolio will deliver synergies and growth opportunities by applying the full extent of 888’s core capabilities in product, marketing and customer relationship management to their operations.”
Earlier this month, 888Holdings made another notable transaction, sealing a purchase agreement to procure Irish bookmaker Betbright for nearly $20 million.
According to Pazner, 888Holdings will implement key proprietary technology Betbright had used for its sportsbook services into its own bookmaking products. That technology involves four specific online gaming verticals: Bingo, casino, poker and sports betting.
The plan is for 888Holdings to incorporate BetBright’s technology as soon as possible.
"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,” Pazner said.
“We are confident that this acquisition will increase the group's long-term prospects and differentiation in the growing global sports betting market.”