October 2, 2007 / 3:18 PM / 10 years ago

888 sees sports betting by early next year

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Online gaming firm 888.com should have the first element of its new sports betting offering in place by early next year and is also lining up its next acquisition, its CEO told Reuters on Tuesday.

888 is tipped by analysts to be close to announcing a tie up with Rank’s Blue Square Web site, to offer bets on soccer matches, horse racing and other sports for the first time.

“We expect to launch (sports betting) in the first country by the end of this year or the beginning of next,” Gigi Levy told Reuters on the sidelines of the European i-Gaming conference.

“The UK is our biggest market but we also have Seville,” he added, saying the deal with the sportsbook provider would be for more than a year.

Having seen takeover talks with gambling group Ladbrokes come to nothing due to worries of retrospective prosecution by U.S authorities, 888 has said it is now looking to be a predator rather than prey for larger rivals.

“It’s highly likely that there will be another deal by the end of the year,” said Levy. “It’ll be something that doesn’t cost much but hopefully makes a lot of money,” he added.

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