Online gaming site to expand beyond poker

Online gaming operator 888 Holdings is plotting a raft of launches of new games over the next few months.

Up to 50 casino, bingo and other games are thought to be in the pipeline.

The move is intended to address declining interest in the company’s poker websites. It is developing a strategy to target online gaming audiences with virtual games based on their real-world interests, such as betting on horse races. It is understood the company also plans to ramp up its online bingo hall with virtual horse and dog racing and fixed-odds games.

Details of the games are not known but they are understood to reflect local interests in individual markets.

The gaming company has been redeveloping its offering over the past 18 months after the US passed a law in November 2006 that banned European online betting businesses from collecting revenues in the US. The move caused 888 to lose more than half its revenue.

It was forced to develop offerings for European audiences and entered into an arrangement with Blue Square, part of the Rank Group, to provide a multilingual sports betting operation.

In March, the European Union launched an inquiry into the US ban after complaints from European online operators. Industry body The Remote Gambling Association claims the US action infringes world trade rules.

EU trade secretary Peter Mandelson has backed the investigation ( March 20).

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