Enter the dragon

Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings has announced that its successful business-2-business division is to assume its own identity under the brandname "Dragonfish" with Gabi Campos holding managing director responsibilities.

The new branding is in recognition of Dragonfish's separate function within 888 and to differentiate Dragonfish's B2B offering which is distinct from, but complementary to, 888's traditional B2C products, a company statement explained.

The new brand is indicative of 888's intention to become a major player in the B2B market and highlights the division's status as an independent entity.

A pioneer and leader in the B2C industry, 888 made the strategic decision in 2007 to lead the way in becoming the largest B2C operator to move into the B2B arena. Capitalising on its market-leading back office technology and decade-long B2C experience, 888 is strongly positioned to work with carefully selected strategic partners who are either aiming to monetise their existing database, brand loyalty and media assets or are looking to enhance their existing online gaming operations.

The B2B division has expanded rapidly. In 2007 agreements were signed with Riley's, Tower Torneos and LuckyAce, and 2008 saw an acceleration in B2B development with several more deals in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, including the ground-breaking partnership with the UK Football Pools (Sportech plc). The agreement represented the full evolution of the B2B offering, and Dragonfish currently provides Sportech with a full managed service including all technology, operations and marketing of Sportech's leading Littlewoods brand.

The partnership announced earlier this week (see previous InfoPowa report) to provide the Racing Post with a comprehensive online gaming operation for casino and poker services, further highlighted 888's development as a B2B provider with significant market share.

'Total Gaming Services' is the strap line that will underpin Dragonfish's unique positioning and reflects the opportunity for clients to not only benefit from 888's experience in technology, operations and ePayments but also utilise advanced marketing services, through the provision of offline / online marketing, management of affiliates, SEO, CRM and business analytics.

The Dragonfish statement reveals that the division sees three main sources of new B2B partners:

* Existing online gaming operators looking to strengthen their existing gaming suite or service offering

* Media companies looking to monetise their brands; and

* Land-based casinos and Lottery companies seeking an experienced online gaming partner, with a heritage of successful business delivery and strong responsible gaming systems and capabilities, that can facilitate a smooth transition from leadership in land-based gaming to a successful online gaming operation

Dragonfish is currently working on a strong transaction pipeline for 2009 with a number of deals at various stages across a variety of game offerings, a spokesman said. "2009 will mark a significant step forward in B2B's contribution to the profitability of 888," he added. The division acquired 14 new business-to-business customers last year and the latest deal with the Racing Post brings 2009’s total to four.

Managing director Gabi Campos, said: "We believe we have first mover advantage as a major B2C operator moving into B2B with our Total Gaming Services offering and have already achieved a number of successful partnerships. The new name and divisional structure represents the scale of our ambitions as we continue to expand the B2B business and through the growth of our client base and service offerings we aim to make Dragonfish a leading player in the B2B market."

888 Holdings CEO Gigi Levy explained the unusual branding for the B2B division: "We looked at combinations of 'play' and 'tech' and other things but they were either boring or taken, so we came up with ‘Dragonfish’", he said. "It's an ugly fish but in places like China it's considered lucky!"

Levy revealed that 888 had 50 potential business-to-business partners in the pipeline.

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