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888 forecasts more than 20 percent growth

4 August 2009

LONDON, England -- As reported by Bloomberg: "888 Holdings Plc, the second-largest U.K. online gambling company, forecast sales growth in the industry of more than 20 percent next year as consumer confidence returns, Chief Executive Officer Gigi Levy said.

"Online gaming has been hit by slowing economies and a drop in consumer spending during the worst recession since World War II. 888's second-quarter operating income fell 12 percent to $61 million from a year earlier, and the number of active casino and poker customers declined 8 percent to 180,000, the company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement.

"'We feel a lot more confident the industry's going back to its normal growth trend, rather than continuing to be hurt by the recession,' Levy said in a telephone interview. 'We're looking at Q1 as the lowest point, and aiming to grow from there.'

"888 is looking to set up operations for other businesses to compensate for a slowdown in poker and casino gambling during the global recession. The Gibraltar-based company is also trying to attract female customers, especially in Continental Europe, with bingo and other online games.

"Both income and player numbers bottomed in the first quarter, 888 said today..."

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