Although they suspended all operations and pulled out of the American market back in 2006, 888 could still be the next large-scale gambling corporation to face the firm hand of justice in the U.S. This is a further blow for the company, who this week saw the departure of its chief executive and chairman. Talks about a merger with Ladbrokes also broke down in the last few days, causing stocks of 888 to plummet sharply.
The federal government recently launched a crackdown in the U.S. on online gambling, which saw the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet.com and Absolute Poker placed under arrest. The .com domains of these websites have been seized by the F.B.I, although they maintain the users from the U.K and other parts of the world should be able to use the poker software as normal. Some have set up alternative .eu versions of their respective websites, although many players internationally have abandoned their online poker rooms altogether for fear of losing their funds.
Reports from inside the business say that the Department of Justice in the states could grow to include 888, although the company themselves vehemently deny this; stating that their abandonment of the U.S in 2006 protects them. It is confirmed, however, that 888 have not struck any kind of deal with the U.S in order to protect them from their Stateside dealings prior to 2006. With Brian Mattingley stepping aside as chairman of their audit committee, 888 are now seeking a new chief executive. Richard Kilsbey, however, remains chairman of the firm.
On top of this, the failed deal with Ladbrokes remains a particularly bitter pill to swallow. Most especially due to the fact that, while 888 stock has plummeted, the high street bookie’s has continued to rise unaided. In better news, 888 have moved to make a marketing agreement with Las Vegas Hotel Caesars; one which has been approved by Nevada state regulations.
Despite current trouble, 888 have stated that they remain “well-positioned” for the future, fully expecting the company to move forward and grow throughout the rest of this year.