Category Archives: Sky Betting and Gaming

Sky Betting & Gaming scrap UK affiliate program on risk concerns

sky-betting-gaming-scrap-uk-affiliate-programOnline gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G) is scrapping its UK affiliate program, just days after local media ran scathing articles on affiliates’ allegedly predatory behavior.

On Monday, SB&G’s UK-facing affiliates reported receiving communication from the company informing them that their services will no longer be required as of October 2. The company claimed the decision came following “a comprehensive strategic review” that focused on “changing regulatory requirements” in its home market. While the Affiliate Hub portal will cease to exist as of October 2, SB&G’s notice made no mention of any forthcoming changes to its Oddschecker and Sportinglife affiliate platforms.

The notice said UK online operators were “experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance.” SB&G’s opinion is that its UK program “is no longer viable and managing the output of affiliates presents a significant risk to our business from a regulatory perspective.”

In June, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that it had teamed with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate several online licensees for “potential breaches of consumer law,” including misleading promotions with excessive rollover requirements. An update on this investigation has been promised for October.

SB&G offered no indication how long its review had been underway, but the termination of its affiliate program came the week after the Guardian published articles detailing affiliates’ use of third-party data to target gamblers on the lower end of the socio-economic scale, and exposing how some affiliate touts deliberately push long-odds wagers on punters in order to ensure greater returns from their revenue-sharing deals with operators.

The UK’s anti-gambling media have also gotten a lot of mileage out of last month’s publication of new survey results indicating a rise in the ranks of the nation’s problem gamblers, although the overall figure remains at just 0.8% of the overall population.

The media was further emboldened by last week’s record £7.8m fine the UKGC slapped on online licensee 888 Holdings for its failures to prevent self-excluded gamblers from continuing to wager via the company’s online bingo site. And the entire industry is braced for this the release this autumn of the results of the government’s triennial review of the gambling industry, which is expected to recommend further curbs on industry activity.

The current climate will undoubtedly convince other UK operators to follow SB&G’s lead. Ladbrokes Coral, which was one the five bookies included in the UKGC/CMA probe, recently announced that it was keeping a tighter leash on its affiliates’ behavior to ensure their practices didn’t get the bookmaker in even more hot water.

SB&G released its fiscal H1 results last month, which showed revenue up 47% to £229.8m in the 26 weeks ending December 22, 2016. Betting revenue was up two-thirds to £140.8m, gaming rose nearly one-quarter to £89m and total customer ranks improved 43% to 1.67m.


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Sky Bet seek Malta license; Purple Lounge crowdfunding lawsuit

media-corp-purple-lounge-crowdfunding-lawsuitLeeds-based online gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) has applied for a Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license ahead of the UK operator’s planned launch into Germany’s online sports betting market.

On Wednesday, the MGA announced that it had received SBG’s formal application for a local sports betting license. SBG, which already holds licenses issued by regulatory agencies in the UK, Alderney and Italy, plans to begin accepting German sports bettors via later this year.

MGA exec chairman Joseph Cuschieri said SBG’s interest in a Malta license reflected the high value that “world leading brands” like SBG place on Malta’s “reputation as a gaming jurisdiction.”

The MGA also announced regulatory data covering the first four months of 2017, during which the MGA received 59 applications, representing a 79% increase over the same period last year. The MGA issued 36 licenses over this span, one-third more than last year.

The number of administrative fines the MGA has levied against its licensees is also up from nine last year to 14 so far in 2017, while the number of terminated or cancelled licenses fell from 20 to 12.

The MGA has so far suspended only one license, down from two last year, although the MGA also suspended the license of Sunderlands Online Limited on May 19. The MGA declined to explain why Sunderlands was taken to the woodshed, saying it didn’t want to “compromise any investigations that may need to be performed” in the wake of the suspension.

Meanwhile, the long dead ghost of a former Malta-licensed site has been reanimated by an investor looking to crowd-fund a class action lawsuit. Steven Egan, a former “substantial” shareholder in the AIM-listed Media Corporation Plc, is looking to raise £1k via to fund a lawsuit over the demise of online gambling site Purple Lounge.

Purple Lounge, which was licensed by the MGA’s predecessor, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), shut down abruptly in 2012, taking the deposited funds of thousands of players with it. Egan claims “millions of pounds” was stolen by Media Corp’s former directors and he’s hoping to raise enough cash to fund a civil action to compel the thieves to fork over their ill-gotten gains.

Sadly, Egan’s campaign has so far raised exactly £0, but the deadline for contributing isn’t until June 29, so lots of time remains for Purple Lounge’s former customers to throw good money after bad.



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