888 Holdings purchase Costa Bingo in deal rumoured to be worth £18 million


In another aggressive expansionist move, 888 Holdings have purchased Costa Bingo, Sing Bingo City Bingo and Fancy Bingo from Jackpotjoy in an £18 million deal. 888, first established in 1997, are one of the biggest names in online gambling.

Lacking the history and reputation of some of the industry’s biggest names, 888 have sought to dominate the market in their own unique way. Through pioneering advanced gaming software and ruthlessly gobbling up smaller companies, 888 have grown their annual revenues to £600 million.

But what does their latest acquisition mean for the state of the current online gambling market? Will Costa, Sing, City and Fancy Bingo change for better or worse? Read on to find out.

Did you know? 888 Holdings have been aggressively expanding in sports betting too. In March 2019 the company purchased Irish company BetRight for £15 million as it looks to improve its sports betting portfolio.

What do 888 Holdings specialise in?

Casino: When the company was founded in 1997 their first move was to launch their online casino. The unimaginatively named Casino-on-net was launched in the same year before a significant rebranding took place in 2002.

888’s online casino went from strength to strength after then and is now the jewel in the crown of the company’s current portfolio. Their online casino games are played by millions of customers on both sides of the Atlantic and further afield.

Poker: Shortly after the rebranding of 888’s online casino the company invested massively in their own, purpose-built poker site. 888 poker was commended by players for its design, playability and service.

888 poker are now major sponsors of some of the most prestigious players and tournaments in the poker world. 888 hold live events all around the globe and their services are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of players.

Bingo: Following the tightening of online gambling laws in the USA in 2005, the decision makers at 888 Holdings identified bingo as a future growth market. 888’s first online bingo site was purchased from Globalcom Limited in 2007.

Since then 888 have consistently bought and rebranded online bingo companies such as Wink Bingo. Their latest purchase from Jackpotjoy are merely a continuation of a long-term expansion strategy.

Sports: One year after their first foray into bingo, 888Sport was launched meaning that the company finally offered all four key online gambling segments – casino, bingo, poker and sports.

In the sports betting market, 888 have made their intentions clear, their recent purchase of BetRight for £15 million highlights 888’s determination to improve their brand identity and attract a larger market share.

The purchase of Wink Bingo – an indicator of things to come for Costa

In 2009, 888 purchased online bingo website Wink Bingo from Daub Ltd for £60 million which signalled their first foray into online bingo. At the time of that purchase Wink Bingo’s pre-tax profits stood at a meagre £1.3 million.

10 years on and Wink Bingo’s latest pre-tax profits were £24.1 million, highlighting the growing popularity of online bingo and the effect of 888’s expertise on the success of the brand.

Did 888 Holdings actually improve Wink Bingo?

Following 888’s acquisition of Wink Bingo, the company invested heavily into a revamp of the brand. Middle-aged women were identified as the site’s key demographic and all subsequent designs and advertising campaigns were built with this in mind.

The website underwent an extensive overhaul, being designed with a distinctive pop art feel which marketing chiefs believed would appeal to their demographic. 888 also used their industry expertise to revolutionise the technology of the games on the Wink Bingo website.

State of the art technology from Cassava Enterprises was used for the first time and 888’s industry recognised customer support team helped to increase customer loyalty and lifetime transaction values.

What to expect from Costa, Sing, City and Fancy going forward

Costa Bingo is the stand-out site in this recent group of purchases and as such, it will be the focal point of improvements for 888 Holdings. Sing, City and Fancy were purchased as part of the deal with more of an eye to market share than growth.

It is thought that the other sites involved in the purchase will remain relatively unchanged, with exception to one or two superficial tweaks.

What will this purchase mean for punters?

888 insiders have revealed that Costa Bingo will be at the forefront of the company’s plans. The other sites that made up the deal are expected to remain relatively unchanged with the exception of some minor tweaks.

The bad news for Costa Bingo fans is that the site’s no deposit bonus is expected to be culled in the short-term. No deposit bonuses are attractive to punters but they do not fall into 888’s business plan.

In terms of bonuses punters can expect more in the way of regular bonuses aimed at engaging existing customers. A slight rethink of the website design is expected as well although at this point there are no indications as to what that will mean.

If we were to speculate we would suggest that 888 will merely tighten the aesthetics of the existing site, giving it a more professional look and one that’s befitting of the 888 brand. Cassava Enterprises gambling technology will also be used which will vastly improve the customer interface.

All in all for customers of Costa Bingo, the move to 888 Holdings will only mean good things. Customers will be treated to better technology, better customer support and most likely, more frequent bonuses.

Is this a sensible purchase?

Barring an absolute disaster this recent purchase by 888 Holdings seems relatively risk-free. If their newly-acquired sites fail to attract significant customer growth 888 will still have achieved their initial goal of reducing the competition for flagship site Wink Bingo.

If, as expected, Costa Bingo goes on to emulate the success of Wink Bingo, 888’s position in the gambling industry will be significantly strengthened. This purchase could provide 888 with the catalyst they need to reach annual revenues of £1 billion.