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888 Holdings is considering exiting its German business

Online gambling company 888 Holdings is considering exiting its German business after tighter regulation weighed on profits in the country.

The group’s subsidiary has been banned from online gaming activity in Baden Württemberg, Germany’s third-largest state and home of Stuttgart.

Now 888 is facing the prospect of some payment institutions withdrawing backing for German operations.

In a statement released this morning 888 said: “The company is highly disappointed by this far reaching ruling and, together with the Group’s legal counsel, is considering potential courses of action, which may include a petition to the German Federal Constitutional Court and is assessing the status and breadth of its offerings in the German market.”

Other gaming operators have already pulled out of the country.

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A bill for VAT in Germany also weighed on pre-tax profits, as did a record £7.8m fine in the UK. Pre-tax profits fell to $18.8m (£13.4m), compared with $59m in the prior year.

Shares fell over five per cent in early trading, but analysts at Canaccord Genuity said: “German uncertainty may cloud short-term performance, but we see 888 as an attractive play on the two key themes of industry consolidation and US market opening.”