888 Holdings plc is a company which operates several high-profile gambling websites. It was founded in 1997. It has an operating subsidiary, Cassava Enterprises, which is incorporated and operates under the laws of Gibraltar. Brothers Avi and Aaron Shaked owned approximately fifty percent of the parent-company through family trusts. Another pair of brothers, Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak, control approximately eleven percent through a family trust. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The business was founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Avi and Aaron Shaked and Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak in May 1997 as Virtual Holdings Limited. Casino-on-Net was launched at that time and an administrative centre was established in Antigua. In 2002 Reef Club Casino and Pacific Poker were launched. In 2003 its administrative center was moved to Gibraltar. It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005. Talk of listing began in mid-2005, as other private online gambling companies began to make the move to public ownership, with HSBC advising 888 on the IPO, which reached an estimated initial valuation £550 to £650 million. The final valuation upon flotation was £590 million. 888 Holdings owned several subsidiaries and brands, which it began to bring under the singular "888" brand name in early 2006.
Until 2006, 888 Holdings operated Pacific Poker in the US, before online gambling became illegal in that country. However, 888 was not as reliant on US revenues as its other UK competitors, leading to less of an impact. In late 2006 Ladbrokes and 888.com announced merger discussions. However, in April 2007 the companies announced that due to recent changes of Tax laws in the UK and fears of legal actions by the US government, both parties had amicably agreed not to continue discussions. In March 2007 888 announced its acquisition of Bingo business of Globalcom Limited for up to $43.4 million in cash. In 2008, 888 Holdings was elevated to the FTSE 250 Index, with its 2007 revenues increasing by $56 million from 2006—with casino games accounting for 55% of the company's gross. In its first half year, the company's bingo business earned $14 million in revenues.
888.com overtook the 4th place on the poker network list in April 2012 after almost having tripled their peak number of players from July 2010 to February 2012. In February, 2015, 888 Holdings confirmed it is in "advanced talks" over a reported $1.47 billion USD (£750 million) takeover by William Hill. This prompted an 18 percent jump in its share price. The company operates under a gaming license granted by the government of Gibraltar. Under the terms of the gaming license Cassava Enterprises owns and operates a number of gaming sites (both for real money and educational sites). In 2014 888 Holdings turned down an offer to acquire the company for 700 million pounds. That year the company revenues began to increase due to mobile customers on its websites, and the company's sites hat 17.8 million paying users.
In 2015 Brian Mattingley left the position of CEO to assume the position of executive chairman of the board for 888 Holdings. In 2015, as online gambling began to return to the United States, four of the five legal gambling websites were run by 888, including three in Delaware and one in Nevada. The company had first initiated its return to the US market in 2013, partnering with Avenue Capital Group to form the first US online poker network. In August 2015, 888 undertook a bidding war to acquire Bwin. Though it was reported that 888 had made the acquisition, the company was purchased by a different company for a higher price.
888casino is an online gambling site operated by 888 Holdings. It provides online casino games in download and web-based instant play for personal computers, tablets and mobile devices. 888casino offers traditional casino games to play online including classic table games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, slots and video slots, video poker, and live casino tables.
888poker.com is Cassava's online poker room branch . It was launched in July 2002 and focuses exclusively on variants of poker and other card games. Traditional poker variants are offered, including Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven-card stud. Like Casino-on-Net,888 poker offers free play versions of its games for players who prefer not to risk real money. 888 Poker is Microsoft Windows and Mac compatible. Players can choose to play on the site's software program or on the non-downloadable game version available online.
888 Holdings owns and operates several different online bingo sites. They offer 90-ball and 75-ball bingo games, along with online slot machine games, progressive jackpots, and scratchcards. The games all run on a no download required basis and have an emphasis on community and chat rooms. In December 2009, 888.com purchased brands including Wink Bingo, Posh Bingo, Tasty Bingo, and RedBus Bingo from Daub. 888ladies.com is Cassava's online bingo room. The bingo site was launched in February 2008 after 888 acquired online bingo company Globalcom. 888ladies offers 75-ball, 90-ball and 5-line bingo games as well as instant games, casino games and scratchcards. In January 2013, 888ladies.com launched a mobile app for iPhone and later Android iPad and tablet. The site is known for running frequent competitions.
Wink Bingo launched in 2008 and is the biggest site in the Joy of Bingo network and the second largest 888 bingo site. 888’s acquisition of the site was followed by a TV ad campaign that included projecting the Wink Bingo logo onto the Houses of Parliament. Wink Bingo also runs frequent promotions and competitions. In January 2014, Wink launched The Breakfast Club competition, asking readers to photograph their meals and upload them to the Wink Bingo Facebook page for the chance to win ASDA vouchers. The competition received news coverage in Hello Magazine and Reading Chronicle. Posh Bingo launched in September 2006 and underwent a major redesign in March 2012. The site has a fashion theme. Tasty Bingo launched in March 2010 and is themed around food. RedBus Bingo launched in April 2010 and has a London theme. Bingo Street launched in July 2011, and is based on a typical UK street, with rooms titled ‘Bingo Supermarket’ and ‘Bingo Hall’.
Big Brother Bingo launched in January 2012 and is based on the reality television show Big Brother on Channel 5. The room names have Big Brother themes and special prizes are often linked to the television programme. There are also standard cash prizes and polls on the housemates.
888bingo.com is the second online bingo site by Cassava, after 888ladies. It was formally launched in December 2009. It offers a selection of games including 75-ball and 90-ball bingo, team bingo, slots, instant games, video poker, and table games. The site is a certified supporter of GamCare, as is 888ladies. 888’s Facebook app Bingo Appy launched in December 2012. offering bingo, casino and slots games via Facebook. It is now the only bingo app on Facebook to permit users to bet and win real money, with Bingo Friendzy’s withdrawal. The app offers 75-ball and 90-ball bingo, instant games, scratchcards and freebie rooms. 888 had initially provided a ‘freemium’ or play-for-fun service on Facebook before the introduction of Bingo Appy.
888sport is Cassava's sports betting brand. The online bookmaker was launched in March 2008. The site offers both horse track betting and sports betting, in addition to access to 888 Holdings’ other sites. Sports leagues on which bets can be placed include those of Europe, North America, and elsewhere. This includes live betting, where bets can be placed on in-game action, in addition to pre-game bets. Racetrack betting focuses largely on UK race tracks, however international racetracks are also available. The site also publishes articles on the odds of upcoming sports events. The brand is the title sponsor for the 888Sport Tingle Creek Chase, in addition to the 888Sport Magnolia Stakes. In 2010 888sport became the title sponsor of the Fontwell Park Racecourse, renaming it the 888sport Grand Stand. 888sport also works in social media surrounding sporting events, distributing content to its followers form other content sources, and has held online sports video competitions.
888games.com is Cassava's casual gaming site. Hosts a variety of games, from video slots to scratchcards, table games and classic casino games in a non-download platform. 888games currently offered in: Germany and the United Kingdom.
On 2 October 2006, 888 Holdings announced that it had indefinitely suspended business from US customers in light of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 by the US Congress three days before. On 14 August 2007, the US Department of Justice asked to recoup all profits made by the company in the US. This would amount to nearly $120m for 888.
Gigi Levy served as Chief Executive until 2011, he was paid an annual salary of $841,000 and an annual bonus of $1,007,000 in 2010.
In March 2012, Brian Mattingley was appointed as Chief Executive of 888 Holdings.