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Internet gambling company 888 Holdings profits up 55%

The online gambling company 888 Holdings (LSE:888) announced today a 55% increase in profits for the year 2006.

888 Holdings announces profits increaseAccording to the report, the gambling company's profits rose 55% to $74.5 million in 2006 compared to $48 million in 2005, and net gaming revenue is up 27.7% to 157 million.

888 Holdings also posted its 2007 Q1 update, pointing out that net gaming revenue rose 19% from a year earlier to a record $47 million. The number of active customers has reached 206,000, an increase of 9% from the Q4 of 2006. Earnings per share were up 29 per cent to 24.8 cents and the company announced it intends to pay a final dividend of 8.88 cents per share, and the stock is up today 2.51% or 3.00GBp to 122.50GBp.

According to the COO Gigi Levy, the company is looking at acquisitions and opportunities for organic growth after the introduction of the U.S. Unlawful Internet Gambling Act forced it to stop doing business with U.S. customers in October. The UK and the rest of Europe currently represents 81 per cent of the business but Mr. Levy said the company planned to develop other key markets. Mr. Levy admits that Rep. Barney Frank's online gambling bill is no something they are looking forward to, as its implication on the UK Internet gambling companies would not be positive, an opinion confirmed by the market when shares of 888 Holdings lost almost 13% of its value the day the text of the bill was announced.

Earlier this month 888 Holding announced the break-up of talks started last year with Ladbrokes for a potential acquisition.


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