Sky Betting and Gaming

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Sky Betting and Gaming
Limited company
Industry Gambling
Products Sports betting, online poker, online casino, online bingo, odds comparison service, fantasy football and football predictor game
Parent CVC Capital Partners (80%)
Sky plc (20%)

Sky Betting and Gaming is a British-based gambling company, owned by CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc, with offices at Sky's headquarters in Isleworth, London and in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Sky Betting and Gaming consists of four core brands: Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Poker and Sky Bingo. Also under its umbrella is leading online betting odds comparison site Oddschecker. Sky Betting and Gaming also operates popular, free-to-enter football prediction game Soccer Saturday Super 6 and Sky Sports Fantasy Football.

On 4 December 2014, it was announced that Sky would sell a majority stake in the company to CVC Capital Partners, valued at £800 million. The sale was completed on 19 March 2015,[1] with Sky retaining a 20% stake in the company and have agreed a long-term licence agreement with CVC.[2]

Sky Bet[edit]

Sky Bet logo used since 21 October 2011.

Sky Bet is the sports betting division of Sky Betting and Gaming, with the majority of its operations run from Leeds. The company allows betting via its website, telephone, mobile phone (WAP) 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.

History[edit]

Sky Bet's origins lie in BSkyB's acquisition of Sports Internet Group in July 2000[3] 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.[4] 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.

Sky Vegas[edit]

Sky Vegas logo used since 21 October 2011.

Sky Vegas is the company's 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.

History[edit]

'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'.[5] 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 Poker[edit]

Sky Poker logo used since 21 October 2011.

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).

Tournaments[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Channel 861 concluded in March 2015, although live shows still take place every Tuesday 10pm-midnight on Sky Sports.

  • 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[edit]

The Sky Bingo logo, in use since 21 October 2011.

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[edit]

Oddschecker is an odds comparison website, which compares the odds offered by the most popular betting companies that cater to British 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.

Oddschecker was established in 2001 and acquired by Sky in 2007.[6]

Soccer Saturday Super 6[edit]

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.[7] There is a £5,000 prize for the week's best performer if the jackpot is not won. The jackpot prize has been won twice: on 26 December 2009 by Jonathan Kilpatrick of West Lothian and on 7 May 2010 by Peter Townly of Wokingham. Gilette Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling is the face of Soccer Saturday Super 6.

Sky Sports Fantasy Football[edit]

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[edit]

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")also supporting MBET Uganda www.mbet.ug, 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.

BSkyB then owned GoldBet in December 2006 after the purchase of 365 Media Group.[8]

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