888.COM FIRES UP TO 150 GIBRALTAR EMPLOYEES

25 October 2006

PANORAMA

The gambling outfit Cassava, also known as 888.com, are to fire employees in their Gibraltar headquarters. That was the buzz yesterday as employees started to receive redundancy letters, with some sources suggesting that up to 150 may be dismissed.

The layoffs stem from the cessation of the company’s activity in the US due to new legislation banning online gambling in the USA, which has shaken the industry.

The forced abandonment of the US market by online gambling companies is hitting their workforces. As we reported on Monday, another Gibraltar-based company, PartyGaming, are talking of job losses in Gibraltar as costs are cut.

888 Holding plc describe themselves as ‘the world’s No.1 online casino operator and poker room’. They have dismissed 29 employees in an Israeli company, representing about 7% of its workforce there.

888 Holding is also expected to pare down its 150-person workforce in Antigua, most of them call centre and technical support staff, said reports.

DOWNSIZING

A report added: At the company’s headquarters in Gibraltar, a process of downsizing has also begun, however because of labour laws in Gibraltar which mandate a 60-day advance notice of dismissal, the company has not yet decided the final number of employees to be laid off.

The latest figures made public last May put their Gibraltar workforce at 381.

888 is quoted as saying that “In light of the change in legislation in the US and the cessation of the company’s activity in that country, and after reviewing current expenses, 888 is making general structural and workforce changes. Part of the workforce which worked directly with the US market was integrated into international departments.”

Their website says: The 888 Group is headquartered in Gibraltar and owns Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited, the company that operates 888.com. Cassava Enterprises operates under a licence granted by the Government of Gibraltar.

In September 2005, the Group’s holding company 888 Holdings PLC completed a successful initial public offering of its shares, which were admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange. The flotation was an important step in 888.com’s goal of becoming the market leader in the global online gaming entertainment industry.

PANORAMA contacted Cassava in Gibraltar and in the UK. The company spokesman did not deny that redundancies were being made, but promised to get back, which so far they have not.

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