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The 888 gambling brand has been on the forefront of the legal US gambling market for several years and has been a major player in the market from the get-go. They are a company that has their headquarters in Gibraltar and have online sports, poker, and casino action available where gambling is regulated.
The 888 online poker rooms are available in the states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, and New Jersey also has the 888 sportsbook and casino. 888 technology also runs the lottery in Delaware, so as you can see the global gaming company is aiming big for the U.S. market.
The ambitions of 888 were increased when the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May of 2018. A little over a year ago Yaniv Sherman, the head of commercial development at 888, moved to the United States in order to run operations from the company’s offices in Secaucus, New Jersey.
“Living in the US and looking at it from a different perspective, every organization needs to have boots on the ground to know where it lives and operates,” Sherman said.
“The US is a lot about scale. Growth is put on a pedestal here, and you have to demonstrate that you can grow and scale. Ever since 2013, we have wanted to be in the marketplace with the scale that would allow us to grow effectively.”
Sports wagering has been legalized in several states since last summer, and the list continues to grow. Sherman thinks the sky is the limit for the booming US sports betting industry.
“The illegal market is worth billions today and, from our experience globally, when a market regulates, and you cater to the recreational base, it grows,” he said.
“It’s like any other market that regulated, whether it was Italy, Spain, the UK or New Jersey. The propensity to bet on sports here is unrivaled. The American sports calendar is a lot more intensive than anywhere else in the world.”
So, according to Sherman, how much growth is possible in the US gambling market?
“That’s the multibillion-dollar question,” he replied.
“I remember Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man. Now that seems ridiculous; it’s less than the license fees required in one of the states [Pennsylvania]. But it’s the six-billion-dollar question.”
The 888 Casino in New Jersey has been available since the beginning in 2013. However, there was a huge upgrade to the platform in July 2019 with Orbit, a web-centric platform. Orbit was constructed over a period of two years and first launched as a global rollout in May 2018. New Jersey was late in the game, as they did not launch the Orbit upgrade until this last summer.
The Orbit platforms, both mobile and desktop, have gone through more changes than just the appearance. There was a redesign of the user experience and because of that login times are much faster and on top of that the game transition has become more seamless. There is now with the Orbit upgrade a more personalized user experience through the use of AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning.
“It’s very mobile-orientated and very intuitive,” Sherman said of Orbit.
“What the consumer doesn’t see is the clever stuff; it tries to learn the players’ preferences and recommends content. We are trying to cater to players’ specific needs.”
“We recognize that today, consumers are more agnostic to the brand – there are product preferences and you need to tick that box.
“Living in the US for just over a year now, I can safely say that if the product doesn’t make the cut, the brand is almost irrelevant. So, we were aiming for Orbit to put us on a different level.”
Over the past year, sports wagering has been the biggest revenue stream for 888 New Jersey. Nevertheless, Sherman thinks they are just scratching the surface of what they can achieve in the gaming market in the Garden State.
He said, “We are running surveys, and I’m constantly surprised that people don’t realize New Jersey has offered online gaming since 2013. So, there is an immense runway there to be taken.”