UPDATE 06/09/2017 – Skybet closed to accounts via SBO – Click here for the best UK bookmakers.
Skybet is the sports gambling division of Sky Betting and Gaming, a wagering and gaming company that is a subsidiary of BSkyB, the largest pay-television broadcaster in the British Isles with more than 10 million subscribers.
The company’s origins lie in BSkyB’s acquisition of the Sports Internet Group in 2000, which included the Surrey Sports bookmaking business. BSkyB rebranded Surrey Sports in 2002 to create Skybet and, in 2006, it grew through the purchase of two other gambling firms.
Naturally, Skybet benefits greatly from being part of the BSkyB family that includes the various Sky Sports television channels that pump thousands of hours of live, top-class sport into British and Irish living rooms every year.
And it is no coincidence that the website has the same look and feel of its BSkyB sisters, with shared typography and a colour scheme that is blue, red, grey, black and white. The website is very easy on the eye, as one would expect of a bookmaker that is attached to a media organisation.
Skybet offers punters on the move two ways to access its gambling services. There is a mobile-friendly version of its website and, also, an Apple iOS app available for download and use on either iPads or iPhones. They are working on getting an Android app into the Google Play store but, in the meantime, Android users can use the website.
Live or in-play betting is a no-brainer for Skybet since many of the sports events on which it is offering odds are being broadcast on the BSkyB network. Punters who live in Ireland and the United Kingdom cannot escape the mention of the name because Sky Sports promotes its sister company at regular intervals. It is a massive marketing advantage for Sky and one that enables it to sign up new clients easier than its rivals.
In the rest of this review we will look at their markets, its bonuses, its security and licensing, how it treats professional and recreational punters and its banking practices, before providing an executive summary.
Skybet offers what one would say is the typical range of betting products for a British-facing bookmaker. However, one only has to glance at the main navigation menu on its website to see that football and thoroughbred horse racing are ranked a long way ahead of the other events.
One area in which Skybet has carved out something of a niche for itself is entertainment and/or novelty bets. The team relishes going up with odds on both television programs and newsworthy markets pertaining to the top sports news of the day.
Also worth mentioning even though, strictly speaking, it is not a gambling option is the Super 6 game, which is free to enter and challenges football fans to forecast the correct score of six nominated soccer matches. There is a huge jackpot prize on offer, which is terrific for a competition that does not cost a penny to enjoy.
Bonuses – A Free Bet Every Week
Skybet has a simple proposition to new clients, one that has attracted widespread praise from punters tired of having to read War and Peace-like terms and conditions attached to supposedly special offers. Register and one receives a free bet worth either 5 British pounds or 5 euros, without even having to deposit one’s own money. Best of all you get this on a weekly basis.
Furthermore, there is a loyalty scheme that hands out free bets or discounts off one’s BSkyB bill. This is another clever initiative that everyday punters seem to like.
Security and Licensing
Skybet is licensed and regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Alderney, the third largest of the British Channel Islands and one of the constitutive islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, is approximately 60 miles from the British mainland. It has its own government, legislature and company laws and operates with the same modern banking, insurance and investment laws as Guernsey. The Guernsey Financial Services Commission is a statutory body responsible for ensuring that the finance industry on Guernsey and Alderney is well regulated. Alderney is subject to the provisions of Guernsey taxation laws.
A Home for Recreational Punters
Skybet is no different to the majority of British-facing bookmakers in that it targets recreational punters over professional ones. One only has to see the kind of offers that they put into the marketplace to recognise that recreational punters – fans who like to spice up their viewing with a small bet – are its bread and butter.
Skybet is focused on the British Isles so it does not see the need to facilitate accounts in any currencies other than British pounds and euros. Because the business model is more tied into Ireland and the United Kingdom than most, if not all of its fellow British bookmakers, it probably does matter too much that punters in, say, Asia or Australasia are unable to bet in their own currency.
Skybet is a great choice for recreational punters who live in the UK or Ireland. It’s especially good for those who subscribe to BSkyB and generally bet on mainstream sports. There are millions of people who fit that profile, hence why this is now the biggest online bookie in this part of the world.