Sky Betting & Gaming
|Industry||Online gambling and gaming|
|Products||Sports betting, online poker, online casino, online bingo, odds comparison service, fantasy football and football predictor game|
|Owner||The Stars Group|
Sky Betting & Gaming is a British-based gambling company, owned by The Stars Group, with headquarters in Leeds, West Yorkshire and offices in Sheffield, London, Guernsey, Rome and Germany. Sky Betting & Gaming consists of five core brands: Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Poker and Sky Bingo. It also owns online betting odds comparison site Oddschecker. Sky Betting & Gaming also operates popular, free-to-enter football prediction game Soccer Saturday Super 6 and Sky Sports Fantasy Football.
In 2015, Sky plc sold an 80 percent stake in the company to CVC Capital Partners for £600 million, with Sky retaining a 20% stake in the company and agreeing to a long-term licence of the Sky brand. In 2018, CVC and Sky agreed to sell Sky Betting & Gaming to The Stars Group for £3.4 billion.
Sky Bet is the sports betting division of Sky Betting & Gaming, with the majority of its operations run from Leeds. The company allows betting via its website, telephone, mobile apps and interactive television through Sky. In August 2011 Sky Bet launched its Apple iPhone and iPad app and all markets are also available via Android devices. It remains one of the few sports betting companies in the UK not to operate traditional high street shops. The company was formerly known for the slogan 'It matters more when there's money on it'. In October 2011, a major new Sky Bet advertising campaign introduced the slogan ‘Nothing’s certain, that’s why it’s exciting’ and the concept of ‘What if?’, used by Sky Bet to advertise topical, sports betting special markets.
Sky Bet is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) (GCB).
Sky Bet had a dedicated TV channel of the same name on Sky channel 864, which closed on 13 February 2012.
Sky Bet's origins lie in BSkyB's acquisition of Sports Internet Group in July 2000 which included the small telephone and online sports betting based company Surrey Sports alongside two other companies; Planet Football and Opta Index. Surrey Sports was rebranded in July 2002 to create Sky Bet. The company grew in December 2006 when established online betting companies totalbet and ukbetting were consolidated into Sky Bet after BSkyB's purchase of 365 Media Group. Sky Bet features heavily (through advertising and shared content) on the former 365 Media Group sites, as well as skysports.com thanks to their common ownership and proximity (they are based in nearby Leeds). Sky Bet's success has prompted Sky to branch out within the betting and gaming industry. Former professional footballer and Sky sports pundit Jamie Redknapp is the face of Sky Bet's football betting product.
In October 2017, Sky Bet became the first online bookmaker in the world to offer instant withdrawals from its online platform into customers‘ bank accounts. The technology was built in-house and is called Fast Withdrawal. Withdrawals reach the customers’ accounts within two hours, but the process can also take as little as a few seconds. Upon rollout, the service was only available to Sky Bet customers with a Barclays bank account, although it will be compatible with other banking providers and payment processors in the near future.
Sky Bet Group Betting
In 2018, Sky Bet unveiled a new option that allows friends to create an accumulator bet together. This is one of the first online options to offer accumulators between people who know each other. In the past, friends have typically done group bets in person or through social media platforms.
Sky Vegas is the company's primary online casino division. It currently offers an online casino website. The company's online casino offering is distinguished from the majority of its competitors in that it now plays in-browser rather than requiring a software download (currently being flash based, formerly distributed on CD). The company uses the slogan 'All the best games, all in one place'.
Sky Vegas is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) (GCB).
Until 12 April 2011, Sky Vegas had a dedicated TV channel of the same name on Sky channel 864 (which was formerly called 'Sky Vegas Live'), when it was rebranded Sky Bet.
'Sky Bet Vegas' was created in March 2003, initially with only 3 fixed odds casino-style games called 'Juicy Jackpot', 'Top Spin' and 'Super Keno'. As its name indicated, it was then part of Sky Bet but has since been made separate and rebranded to simply 'Sky Vegas'. When limitations on broadcasting Casino games through IDTV were lifted, the company began to offer games through its interactive facility alongside the Sky Vegas Live channel, which showed betting opportunities such as Virtual Horse and Greyhound races. Both the online casino and the television channel re-branded as Sky Vegas in January 2008, with the television channel later being renamed the Sky Bet channel in April 2011.
Sky Casino is the company's premium online casino site, with a focus on live table games.
Sky Poker is the company's online poker division, which allows users to play poker on their website using a browser, or via their download client. Like Sky Vegas, the company offers its service in browser as well as through the downloadable software. Sky Poker also has a mobile app, enabling users on the IOS platform to play poker on the go. Compatible with both iPhone and iPads, the tablet app was launched in May 2014, with the phone version following a few weeks later.
The company uses the slogan 'Up Your Game,' which tries to encourage players to increase their poker skills and knowledge through providing them with strategy articles and videos, alongside regular content from their Ambassador Neil Channing. Since 2007 Sky Poker had its very own TV channel which broadcast live coverage of hands that had been played at the Sky Poker tables. A presenter would talk through the show with a Poker Analyst present, who would give feedback and tips to help players improve their skills. The latest channel that Sky Poker TV broadcast on was Sky channel 861, although this ceased activity in March 2015. Due to Sky Betting & Gaming becoming an independent company, Sky Poker since had to review its options going forward. Sky Poker TV still remains, broadcasting a live show every Tuesday on Sky Sports. The channel will still continue to produce popular content such as the Sky Poker Cash Games and the UK Poker Championships coverage.
In 2014, Sky Poker announced that poker professional Neil Channing would be their new brand Ambassador. Neil will support Sky Poker by appearing on Sky Poker TV, writing blogs and strategy articles and appearing at their very popular live event, the UK Poker Championships (UKPC) held at Nottingham based casino, Dusk Till Dawn.
Sky Poker is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) (GCB).
- Live: Sky Poker used to run the Sky Poker Tour, although these have been put on hold until further notice.
- Live: Sky Poker is the official sponsor of the UK Poker Championships, in partnership with Nottingham-based casino Dusk Till Dawn. The £1,000 buy in event has attracted some extremely well known faces within the poker industry including November Niner James Akenhead, Barny Boatman and Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott. The UKPC are held bi-annually, with a full ring event in February, and a 6-max version in August. In February 2015 Sky Poker managed to successfully meet their biggest live guarantee of £1,000,000, with the winner, Fraser Bellamy taking away £200,000.
- The Super Roller - Sky Poker's biggest weekly tournament held on Sundays.
- Bounty Hunters - Sky Poker's most popular form of tournament, whereby players can win money for eliminating opponents.
- The Turbo Open - Tuesdays tournament sees a quicken the blind structure for fast paced and action packed poker.
- The Rebuy Open - Wednesday's are the home of the Rebuy Open, whereby players have the option to re-enter if they lose all of their chips, along with an optional add on.
- Sky Sports Bounty Hunter - A £33 buy-in tournament, which is also shown on Sky Sports. The action is action-packed and some of the guests who have featured in the studio to cover the tournament include Luke Schwartz, Neil Channing, Ian Frazer (poker player) and WPT champion McLean Karr.
Players can also "satellite" into a tournament, which means qualifying through a series of smaller tournaments, for a small amount of money. Prize pools are subject to change. Sky Poker also offers Cash Poker, Sit & Go's and Omaha games.
Sky Poker TV
Channel 861 concluded in March 2015, although live shows still take place every Tuesday 10pm-midnight on Sky Sports 3.
- Sky Poker School - Analysts and Team Sky Poker members discuss the play from viewers who submit hands for analysis. The aim is to educate poker players in skills such as position, bankroll management and bluffing.
- Master Cash - A show dedicated exclusively to cash games. The biggest pots of the week are aired, along with live play from the cash tables each Saturday night.
- Top of the Pots - A countdown of the 10 biggest hands in cash poker that week.
- YouTube - Sky Poker also has a dedicated YouTube channel where users can watch episodes of the UK Poker Championships, alongside brushing up on their Poker skills using their strategy videos.
Sky Bingo is the company's online bingo division. The company uses the slogan 'Believe in Better Bingo', echoing Sky's 'Believe in Better'.
Sky Bingo is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) (GCB).
Oddschecker is an odds comparison website, which compares the odds offered by the most popular betting companies that cater to British and Australian customers, including Sky Bet. It forms part of the betting content of some other sites, such as Bettingzone. The company also offers reviews and comparison of online gambling websites through its 'Casinochecker', 'Pokerchecker' and 'Bingochecker' sections.
Soccer Saturday Super 6
Soccer Saturday Super 6 launched in 2008, is a free-to-enter online prediction game, whereby players must correctly predict the score lines of 6 selected matches in order to win the weekly jackpot of £250,000. There is a £5,000 consolation prize for the week's best performer if the jackpot is not won. Gillette Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling is the face of Soccer Saturday Super 6.
Sky Sports Fantasy Football
Sky Sports Fantasy Football in association with Gilette was improved and relaunched in 2011. Players choose and manage their own 'dream team' and score points according to the real-life performance of footballers. It is free-to-play and offers £100,000 in prizes. Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling is the face of Sky Sports Fantasy Football.
Acquisition of GoldBet
In April 2004, 365mediagroup or ukbetting as it was known at the time, the UK’s leading sports content and online gaming business, announced the acquisition of GoldBet SportWetten GmbH ("GoldBet"), the European online sports betting company, for a maximum consideration of €4.5 million, dependent on the achievement of certain performance criteria. For the year ended December 2003, GoldBet had recorded EBITDA of €260,000 on revenues of €8.5 million, with a net asset value of €246,415, and no bank debt.
Trevor Beaumont, ukbetting’s Managing Director of Gaming, believed Europe represented a significant growth opportunity for ukbetting and sought to leverage the European market, a market that he was familiar with as former Racing and Trading Director of Coral and Managing Director of Eurobet.
- "Sky completes sale of Sky Bet to CVC Capital Partners". Sky plc. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 2018-04-21 – via Financial Times.
- "Sky sells majority stake in Sky Bet". BBC News. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- Lee Mottershead (21 April 2018). "Sky Bet snapped up by Canadian betting giant Stars Group in £3.4bn mega deal". Racing Post. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
- "An introduction to Sky Bet" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- "VNUNet: Sky gambles on 365 Media Group". Archived from the original on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Butler, Megan (August 3, 2018). "Sky Bet Introduces New 'Group Betting' Option".
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