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Global online operator 888 has been awarded a provisional sports betting licence by the Virginia Lottery, allowing it to offer wagering services to customers in the state.

The operator is expected to launch its SI Sportsbook in Virginia in 2022, it said, in partnership with Authentic Brands Group, which owns the Sports Illustrated brand.

In September, brand launched in Colorado, where more than $3.6bn has been processed in wagers since the online sports betting market launched in May 2020, generating more than $235m in GGR for licensed operators in the state.

Virginia’s legal online sports betting market launched in January of this year, and its state lottery, which acts as the sector’s regulator, has awarded 13 operating licences so far.

The latest figures released on Virginia’s sports betting market showed that operators in the state handled $293.9m in bets during September, while generating GGR of $30.9m.

888 now holds local licences or market-access agreements in a total of nine US states, with Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania joining the list alongside Virginia and Colorado.

“We are delighted to have been awarded our licence by the Virginia Lottery,” said Yaniv Sherman, SVP and head of US at 888.

“This is an important milestone for 888 which enhances our foothold in the US online sports betting and iGaming market. There is a growing sports betting fanbase in the state and I firmly believe that SI Sportsbook, supported by our partners at Sports Illustrated, will offer a unique and differentiated experience to our customers which will be well-received.”

The operator’s share price has seen a slight uptick today, sitting at the time of writing at £3.15, compared to £3.11 at market close yesterday.

The price has fallen sharply since 22 September, when it reached £4.78, and continued to decline after the release of the operator’s Q3 results in October, when the £4.16 price began to tumble further despite a 7% year-on-year revenue increase. 

The operator pointed out challenges in its Q3 trading update, including an expected $10m EBITDA hit caused by the withdrawal of its services to consumers from within the Netherlands.

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