Online gaming group 888 has recorded a drop in profit before tax of almost two-thirds, with the total for the first six months of 2019 amounting to US$22.2m, compared to US$60.1m in the corresponding period last year.

Adjusted EBITDA stood at $41.8m, down from $52.4 in H1 2018, with adjusted profit before tax at $27.1m ($42.5m). Basic earnings per share were 5.4c (15.4c).

888 stated that trading during the second half of the financial year to date has been in line with board expectations, with average daily revenue six per cent higher than Q3 2018.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said: "888 has delivered a solid performance in the first half of 2019. The group's business in the UK has continued its recovery, which was underpinned by exciting product innovation as well as 888's successful casual customer focus, and further expanded across several regulated European markets including launching its offering in Sweden and Portugal. The group has also completed two acquisitions including the exciting and strategic acquisition of a first-class sports betting platform and team, thereby giving 888 complete ownership for the first time of its technology and product development across the four key online gaming product verticals.

“First time depositors in the group's B2C business have shown very healthy growth of 20 per cent driven in particular by casino. This very encouraging trend reflects highly effective marketing investment as well as the benefits of Orbit, 888's latest casino platform, which has delivered strong results in each market where it has been launched.

“The board continues to believe that 888 is very well positioned for the future as a result of the group's diversification across products and markets, product leadership, and first-class team. Trading during the second half of the financial year to date has been in line with the board's expectations with average daily revenue six per cent higher year on year representing a nine per cent increase at constant currency. This has been led by a 24 per cent year on year revenue increase in the UK. 

“888 has a number of exciting growth opportunities ahead which will leverage the group's new product developments and marketing innovation. As a result, the board remains confident that the outcome for the full year will be in line with its expectations."