March 24, 2020 / 8:03 AM / 4 days ago

UPDATE 1-Gambling firm 888 warns of profit hit from virus-related sports disruptions

(Adds details on sports business, company comment, background)

March 24 (Reuters) - Online gambling firm 888 Holdings said on Tuesday its 2020 core profit could be hit in the high single-digit millions of dollars if global sporting events remain disrupted until September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company joined the ranks of peers Paddy Power and Betfair-owner Flutter Entertainment, Ladbrokes-owner GVC and William Hill, all of which last week warned of a big hit to earnings because of sports events being stopped.

However, 888 has a smaller exposure to sports as compared with its peers, with the business accounting for only 16% of its revenue in 2019.

The company also said more people were playing casino and poker, with its customer facing business recording a 20% jump in customer acquisition year to date, as they remained holed up in their homes because of the fast-spreading virus.

“However, in the event of a prolonged period of global macro-economic uncertainty, it is possible that consumer spending across the group’s online gaming product verticals may also become impacted,” the company said in a statement. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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