888 was founded in 1997 in the British Virgin Islands as Virtual Holdings Limited. In the same year, its Antiguan subsidiary obtained a gaming licence in Antigua where it based all of its management, gaming servers, member support functions and technical and payments staff. 888's platform and first proprietary product, Casino-on-Net, was launched in May 1997.
Random Logic Limited was established in 1998 in Tel-Aviv, Israel to provide research and development and marketing services to 888.
888 launched its second casino product, Reef Club Casino, in June 2002. In 2002, 888 Holdings launched its 888.com brand and also its multi-player online poker room, Pacific Poker. 888 Holdings also established an additional marketing office, Virtual Marketing Services (UK) Limited, in London in 2002 to source its offline advertising in the UK.
In July 2003, 888 obtained a gaming licence in Gibraltar. At that time, 888's headquarters, management and operational centre, including all of its gaming and deposit servers and its dedicated member support centre, were moved from Antigua to Gibraltar. Towards the end of 2003, 888 launched version seven of Casino-on-Net.com.
In August 2004 888 introduced a pilot programme for skill games (888.tv and 888.info). In October 2004, 888 Holdings launched access to a betting exchange platform, Betmate.com, to non-US members.
In October 888 was listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The company was also a founding member of eCOGRA, the pre-eminent industry benchmark of consumer protection.
The year proved to be a watershed for the online gaming industry following the passing of the UIGEA in the United States on 29 September 2006 - as a consequence all activity with US based customers was ceased. In January 2006, 888 had launched an entirely new Casino product with a new graphical user interface, new industry leading video-slot machines and promotion features.
888 made its first acquisition, with the purchase of the Bingo business and assets from Globalcom Limited. The first quarter saw the rollout of innovative products such as localised Video Slots, Blackjack in Poker and Blackjack. The year also saw 888 sign its first white label agreements, as the company moved into the B2B arena.
The launch of 888sport in March meant that 888 offered all four key online gaming segments: Casino, Poker, Sportsbetting and Bingo. The hugely successful 888ladies Bingo offering was launched in February 2008, with innovative social aspects.
Early in 2009 888 rebranded and relaunched the B2B business as Dragonfish, crystallizing its position as a stand-alone, but complementary, part of the Group. In December the acquisition of the Wink Online Bingo business added to the tremendously successful emerging offering, and Reef Club Casino was introduced as a recession-friendly offering.
The look and feel of the umbrella brand was updated early in the year and sub-brands refocused to reflect the four core gaming products — 888casino, 888poker, 888sport and 888bingo. The acquisition of Mytopia in June added assets that form the cornerstone of 888’s social gaming and mobile strategy.