Gaming Company 888 Holdings has just acquired the remaining stake in All American Poker Network (AAPN), becoming the sole proprietor of the joint-venture. As a result, 888 will seek to consolidate and expand its presence in the legalized US iGaming market.
888 Holdings Buys Out iGaming Assets
888 Holdings has decided to consolidate its footprint in the iGaming market across North America, starting with the United States. The company acquired the missing 53%-stake of All American Poker Network (AAPN), becoming the sole owner of the company it helped found back in 2013.
The deal was struck by private equity company Avenue OLG Entertainment and the Holdings, with the sale of the company worth $28 million. According to the agreement, $10 million will be paid immediately, with another $18 million deferred to March 31, 2019.
The addition of the entire AAPN will allow 888 to re-position itself on the US market and gain ground from main competitors, such as PokerStars. 888 will use the opportunity to also strike up new partnerships and forward its technological innovation in the country.
888 CEO Itai Frieberger argued that the commitment is associated with a “long-term potential”.
Taking outright ownership of AAPN gives 888 additional operational, technological and commercial flexibility to develop innovative and exciting new partnerships and launch in new states – through both B2B and B2C channels – as and when future regulation allows. – 888 Holdings CEO Itai Frieberger
Mr. Frieberger noted that both consumers and business will benefit, highlighting the added value for present and future shareholders. The AAPN started as a joint-venture between 888 and OLG, with 888 using the company as a pilot test as to the potential of the US market.
The company has been so far successful in bringing the 888poker and 888casino brands in New Jersey while the sports betting operations have gained a fresh élan propped by the PASPA repeal and the wide-spread endorsement of the industry, not least because it promises to bring huge benefits to mainstream sporting organizations in terms of revenue.
Staring Small, Time to Grow Big
The purpose of the AAPN was to help the company achieve the flexibility needed to operate in a market that is highly-regulated in a great sense – restrictive. Still, 888 continued to pursue investment elsewhere while preparing to push ahead its portfolio in the United States when regulatory measures relaxed.
Today, the company continues to work in the same direction, not trying to jump the gun and awaiting regulatory action to take hold, before it even considers further expansion.
Legal action is rife all over the United States. While places such as Missouri are rethinking the taxation of the sports betting industry, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are on the cusp of pushing ahead with approval for online iGaming and poker.
However, the lack of a centralized gaming network has made the country susceptible to local preferences. Each state has its own laws, population, and representatives to thresh out the framework for iGaming and sports betting operations.
While this causes a slow-down, it also provides companies such as 888 with sufficient wiggle room to carefully plan their next step. The full acquisition of AAPN is a sure-fire sign that 888 is on the move again.