Official 888 UK Casinos
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888 UK Limited Information
Who are 888 UK Limited?
The short answer to this question is that 888 UK Limited is the UK arm of the 888 Group, which is one of the biggest gambling companies in the world. When we say “biggest gambling companies,” we’re not just talking about the iGaming scene; we’re also talking about the physical realm. 888 UK Limited owns William Hill, which gives the operator a brick-and-mortar presence that most of its rivals can only dream of. It’s an enormous company, and yet at the same time, it operates far fewer iGaming sites than it did a couple of years ago.
The numbers tell you a lot about what you need to know about the company. As of the time of writing, approximately 1350 people work for 888 Holdings (another name for the 888 Group) in offices all over the world, and the company enjoys revenue of over £1.2bn per year. It’s all a far cry from the humble beginnings of the operation in the late 1990s – which we’ll look at in more detail now.
The History of 888 UK Limited
For regulatory reasons, the current base of 888 UK Limited is considered to be Gibraltar. That isn’t where the business was founded, though. The 888 story begins in May 1997, when it was founded by Aaron and Avi Snaked under the name “Virtual Holdings Limited” in Antigua. It’s an unlikely space for a global empire to spawn from, but that’s what happened. The first casino site that ever launched on the Virtual Holdings Limited network was called Casino on Net, which was shortly followed by Pacific Poker and Reef Club Casino. Antigua presumably proved to be a rich source of inspiration for those second two sites.
When 888.com was first launched in 2005, it was just another casino site on the platform. It wasn’t until the following year that someone at Virtual Holdings Limited (which still exists as one of the companies under the 888 Holdings umbrella) realised that 888 might be a neat name for the whole network, and so the branding was officially changed in 2006. It might surprise some of our readers to hear that 888 has been around as a brand for less than twenty years, but it’s true.
To Buy or to be Bought?
Nobody would hesitate to describe 888 Holdings as an iGaming giant today, but the truth is that it nearly became an industry giant years earlier than it actually did. 888 was in talks about a merger with Ladbrokes as long ago as the end of 2006, but fears about any such deal being blocked by anti-competitive laws saw the two titans end their talks amicably without a deal being agreed. Ladbrokes would go on to merge with Coral several years later. 888, in the meantime, bought Globalcom Limited’s bingo platform for £40m in 2007. Bingo quickly became the centrepiece of the company’s operations, making £14m the year after the platform was acquired. Remember the importance of bingo; it’s going to be important later.
Having been denied the chance to secure a deal with Ladbrokes in 2006, 888 Holdings wasn’t to be denied the next time the chance to swallow a big name came along. However, it had to avoid being swallowed first. In 2015, William Hill made a bid of £750m for the company. Share prices jumped by nearly twenty per cent upon the announcement, and for a time, it seemed like the deal was destined to be done, but it fell through for reasons that never entirely became public. William Hill trying to buy 888 Holdings is something else you’re going to want to remember in a couple of paragraphs’ time.
Massive International Expansion
By the end of 2014, the 888 Group had a combined total of nearly eighteen million people registered across the multiple iGaming sites that it operated. It was big, but it was destined to become even bigger. The company’s headquarters had long since been moved to Armenia to Gibraltar, but in 2018, the company took another major international step by applying for a Malta Gaming Authority licence to go with the one that it already held with the UK Gambling Commission. At the time, it was reported that the company only took the step because it was unsure how the UK’s looming exit from the European Union would affect its licensing status elsewhere, but it turned out t be a hugely beneficial move in the long run.
A moment ago, we said you were going to want to remember that William Hill tried to buy 888 in 2015. Here’s why; in 2022, 888 Holdings confirmed that it had acquired all of the European operations of William Hill – including the company’s betting shops and UK-facing iGaming sites – for £1.95bn. The tables had well and truly turned – and the company wasn’t done making major moves yet.
Goodbye Bingo, Hello Sports
Here’s our second callback. Several paragraphs ago, we told you to remember the importance of bingo to 888’s operations during the company’s early years. In 2021, the company decided that it had reaped the best years out of its bingo department and elected to part with it. A package of more than two hundred UK-facing iGaming sites was put up for sale and ended up going under the hammer for £38m to Broadway Gaming Limited. Broadway, in turn, set up a new casino network company called Grand Battery Holdings Limited to manage the sites. To the surprise of many observers, the sale included signature 888 sites like 888 Bingo and 888 Ladies, which had been proven winners for the operator for many years.
Letting go of a whole segment of the company that had made so much money might have looked like an odd move to outsiders, but 888 had a plan. The company’s directors had made a conscious choice to shift away from bingo in order to clear space for and improve focus on its large and growing sports betting operations. 888 Sport had been steadily gaining in popularity for several years, but more importantly than that, the company launched its Sports Illustrated Sportsbook (run in partnership with the long-running Sports Illustrated magazine) in Virginia, USA, in May 2022. Another Sports Illustrated Sportsbook was set up in Colorado, and the company intends to expand further across the United States of America with sports betting as markets stateside continue to open up. Bingo is now firmly in the rearview mirror for the 888 Group, and even its casino operations appear to have taken a back seat for the foreseeable – in the future, it’s all going to be about sports betting.
888 UK Limited and the UKGC
888 UK Limited would never have been able to become as big as it is in the UK (or elsewhere) if it didn’t hold a full UK Gambling Commission licence. The current licence that it holds with the regulator is number 39028 and has been in force since November 2014. 888 UK Limited (or the 888 Group) is a company that’s used to making headlines, but it made a few headlines that it would rather have avoided in February 2022. That month, the UK Gambling Commission announced the results of a licence review that it had undertaken – and they didn’t make for pleasant reading.
After completing the review, the UKGC found that 888 UK Limited had breached paragraphs of its licence relating to preventing money laundering, correctly identifying customers, and interacting with customers in a socially responsible way. Additional conditions have been attached to the company’s licence since the review, which also saw 888 UK Limited handed a formal warning. More seriously than that, the company was fined £9.4m because of the breaches. At the time, it was one of the biggest penalties that the UK Gambling Commission had ever handed out. Had it not been for the fact that the operator cooperated with the regulator throughout the review process and took corrective steps immediately, the fine might have been even bigger.
888 UK Limited Sites
888 UK Limited might have let go of 888 Bingo and 888 Ladies, but 888 Casino is still going strong. It’s one of just two casino and online slots sites that the operator elected to keep when it sold the rest of its non-sporting brands to Broadway Gaming Limited in 2022. Given the enormously high profile of 888 Casino, that’s not really a surprise. This is a very familiar brand to players in the UK, having been advertised on television multiple times. It’s still seen as a prestigious casino by players today, even if it no longer appears to be as big a priority as it once was to the company that owns it.
Any good online casino can offer slots and games from the best providers in the business, and 888 Casino offers plenty of them. If you’re looking for something a little different, though, you’ll find that there’s a wide range of 888 Casino exclusive games at the site. They have their own dedicated area and include games in every category. Some of them – The Wolf’s Den and Book of Scrolls, for example – are very clearly inspired by some of the world’s best-known online slots and games, but they have their own individual quirks. The most entertaining of the exclusive “games” you’ll find at 888 Casino, though, is 888 Poker. The company’s poker brand used to have a larger standalone presence, but these days you’ll find it as a minisite contained within 888 Casino. It’s still as good as it ever was, though.
888 UK Limited’s decision to keep hold of 888 Casino is an easy one to understand. It’s a very well-known casino site, and the operator has spent a significant sum of money on marketing it over the years. Its decision to keep hold of 777 Casino is a little harder to understand. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with 777 Casino – we actually think it’s a very solid casino site. We like its Las Vegas road trip theme, and it offers a decent welcome promotion along with a far selection of ongoing promotions with customer-friendly terms and conditions. It’s just a surprise to see that it’s still attached to the platform when several casinos if similar (if not grander) standing were let go.
If you’re going to keep hold of 777 Casino, why not keep hold of Wink Slots or Wicked Jackpots, both of which have been on par with 777 Casino in terms of popularity over the years? It can’t have anything to do with the casino’s nearly-branded name because if that were the case, 888 UK Limited would never have parted ways with 888 Ladies or 888 Bingo. It’s a mystery, and one which we don’t suspect the operator is ever going to help us to solve. Whatever the reason it’s still here, 777 Casino is a fine option if you want to stick with this casino network company and play slots.
Having spent years being treated as if it were on the same level as 888 Casino, 888 Bingo and all the rest, 888 Sport is now the most important iGaming site on the operator’s platform. The company has big plans for it – although it’s using the Sports Illustrated name to make headway in the United States of America at present, it’s generally assumed that 888 Sport will make its debut on the other side of the pond at some point in the not-too-distant future. The black-and-orange branding of 888 Sport is already famous, but it stands to become a whole lot more famous soon.
While 888 Sport might not materially offer anything that your preferred sports betting site doesn’t already offer, it’s famous for its selection of “888 Specials.” These are enhanced odds or novelty bets, and there are dozens of them available on any given day. 888 Sport might not always be able to beat what your usual bookie is offering to you in terms of regular odds, but when something comes up in the 888 Specials section, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be able to find anything like it elsewhere.
Full list of 888 UK Limited casinos
- 777 Casino (Live)
- 888 Sport (Live)
- Bet You Can (Live)
- Candy Shop Bingo (Live)
- Pacific Poker (Closed)
- Peeps Bingo (Closed)
- Play Cosmo (Closed)
- Play Woman Bingo (Closed)
- Sophies Bingo (Closed)
- Sweetshop Bingo (Live)