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888 sees year earnings ahead of market view

LONDON (Reuters) - British online gaming company 888 Holdings said it expects its full year earnings to come in well ahead of market expectations, after a strong third quarter result.

The group, which operates 888 casino, poker, sport and bingo brands, on Wednesday said group revenue rose 7 percent to $92 million in the three months to the end of September, helped by its increasingly popular poker games.

"The final quarter has started positively with average daily revenues more than 7 percent ahead of the strong fourth quarter in 2011," said 888 chief executive Brian Mattingley.

"A disciplined approach to our costs, and our analytics driven marketing spend proving highly efficient, means we now expect our earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the full year to be significantly ahead of current market expectations."

The company is expected to report an average EBITDA of $59.3 million for 2012, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 10 analysts.

888 said it had 12.5 million casino, poker and sport registered customer accounts by the end of September, up 24 percent on the same time last year.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by Neil Maidment)

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