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888 Acquires Defunct BetBright Brand for £15 Million

888 Holdings continues to expand its sports betting business by buying BetBright for £15 million. BetBright, which is based in Ireland and was backed by Rich Ricci, offers its customers sports betting as well as an online casino. 888 Holdings will look to integrate BetBright with the rest of its business operation moving forward.

Ricci, who is the former Head of Investment Banking at Barclays, is believed to have invested around £7 million into BetBright before then becoming the company’s Executive Chairman. A racing enthusiast with a number of National Hunt horses to his name, Ricci believes that the time is right to sell BetBright to a larger company.

A Brief History of BetBright

Founded in 2013, BetBright was the brain child of Marcus Brennan, Richard Brennan, Gary Hunter and Tadhg O’Toole. It offered a sports betting platform, as well as an online casino, which was developed in-house rather than being the product of a white label system. The casino side of the business was added in November of 2014, whilst virtual games were added to the site courtesy of Betradar in 2015.

Rich Ricci came on board as the new Executive Chairman at the end of January 2016, helping to steer the company towards developing internal products. This led to them being named the company with the ‘Best In-House Product’ when the EGR Operator Awards took place in November of 2016. Sarne Lightman, the former Director of Poker Stars, was hired as the Managing Director of Sportsbook and Casino in 2017.

The company announced plans to grow in February of 2018, confirming plans to add around one hundred and thirty thousand new customers to its roster whilst doubling revenues. Part of this included a new partnership with Nottingham Forest Football Club, which was taken up in June of 2018. The firm also hoped to garner interest in its services by hiring Jamie Vardy’s wife, Rebekah, and former Premier League referee, Mark Halsey, to act as Video Assistant Referees during the 2018 World Cup.

Financial Issues

In August of 2016, it was revealed that the company behind BetBright, Dedsert (Limited), had lost more than £3 million in 2015. Two years after the company’s launch, the accounts showed that loss meant that it had liabilities over assets of slightly more than £6 million at the end of the year. The accounts did suggest that company directors believed that performance would improve, if for no other reason than heavy sponsorship of the Cheltenham Festival.

The arrival of Rich Ricci onto the board was believed to be part of the reason for the confidence in the company’s ability to recover and grow. Ricci, who is from the United States of America but lives in the United Kingdom, used to be a Senior Executive at Barclays and understands the British racing market. As well as owning numerous National Hunt horses, he’s also a regular attendees at meetings that BetBright sponsored.

The Acquisition By 888 Holdings

Whilst BetBright might not have been in the best of health a few years ago, it’s obviously doing well enough to encourage 888 Holdings to spend £15 million on its acquisition. The Dublin office of BetBright will be incorporated into 888 Holding’s business, with the product development and the technology behind the Poker, Bingo, Casino and Sport sections of BetBright now being completely owned by 888.

Founded in 1997, 888 Holdings has gone on to become one of the world’s best online gaming and entertainment providers. With sports betting being legalised across the United States thanks to the recent Supreme Court ruling, it is the perfect time for 888 Holdings to expand further into the US market. It already operates in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada, so the expansion further afield should be easy enough.

A press release from 888 holdings confirms that the company will begin the integration of BetBright’s technology ‘as soon as practically feasible’. Having already signed a sponsorship deal with the New York Jets, 888’s purchase of BetBright will allow the company to expand further into the US market thanks to the increased resources they now have available to them. This will be helpful as the legislation around sports betting in the States evolves.

What It Means for Customers

If you’re a BetBright customer then the obvious question that you’ll want an answer to is about what will happen to your bets and your account moving forward. When it comes to the latter question, the answer is that BetBright accounts will be merged with 888Sport to mean that customers can login with the same username and password that they’ll have used to enter the BetBright site, though they’ll need to change password when they do.

When it comes to open bets, that’s where things become a little more confusing. Though nothing has yet been confirmed, 888 Holdings appear to have suggested that bets placed on the upcoming Cheltenham Festival will be honoured. Ante-post bets placed on competitions further in the future, including the outcome of the Premier League, are more complicated. It’s possible that they will not be honoured, with stakes being returned instead.