Although it is one of the biggest brands in online gambling, SkyBet has been going through changes in recent years. Their betting site maintained a solid reputation for years, but after several changes in ownership and rumours of financial trouble, can the same be said for this online bookmaker in 2020?
That is what we're here to find out, in Betting Fellow’s bookmaker review. We’ll go through all of the important factors which help determine whether a bookie is worth your time or not.
SkyBet has been getting a lot of attention in punting circles these days, and not in a good way. The new management seems to be giving a lot of players pause because it has nothing to do with Sky, the British media and telecommunications conglomerate.
This is not to say that Skybet should be completely avoided – we meant it more as a disclaimer. While Skybet’s offer may seem highly competitive, security should always be your number one concern. And from where we’re standing, Skybet’s future seems uncertain. Either way, everything you read in our Skybetbetting site review should be taken with a grain of salt.
To further illustrate why let’s take a short look at Skybet’s history.
Skybet – Final days, or just bumpy waters?
Sky Betting and Gaming was founded with the rise of remote gambling in 2001. It was created as a part of the above-mentioned media corporation, Sky PLC. Sky kickstarted their business in betting by acquiring a relatively small phone and an online betting company called Sports Internet Group in 2000. They adapted these operations to fit the Sky brand in 2002.
These early years of Skybet were marked by rapid expansion which included buying out several smaller competitors. This served to consolidate Sky’s piece of the market and resulted in Skybet quickly becoming one of the top online bookmakers by 2006. The company was based in Leeds, and its success prompted Sky to invest in several other projects in the world of iGaming and remote gambling: Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Poker, Sky Bingo and Sky Lotto.
To top it all off, SkyBet’s relation to the many media outlets under the Sky umbrella gave it strong advertising, which was further enhanced by expensive sponsorships with the Premier League. The sportsbook even had its dedicated TV channel up until 2012.
Skybet’s offer was known as a rather ‘standard’ online sportsbook. They did not particularly excel in any particular areas but boasted a decent all-round offer with something for everyone. They even had some small innovations, such as the group accumulator bet.
This lasted up until 2016 when Sky Betting and Gaming had 80% of its share sold to CVC Capital Partners, a private equity firm from Luxembourg. Most fans are well aware of how Skybet approached their business point to this event, marking it the major turning point in Skybet’s history. From this point on, Skybet started earning a reputation for favouring greedy practices over their customers, even though they were still one of the best online bookies around.
The arrangement itself did not last long, however, and both Sky and CVC opted to sell their respective shares of Sky Betting and Gaming to The Stars Group Inc, a Canadian online gambling company known for their ownership of PokerStars. This was largely seen as a good thing from the perspective of customers, with people relying on Star’s experience in running online betting platforms to correct the previous owners’ mistakes. We are still feeling the effect of this transition, so Skybet’s future remains optimistic from a punter’s perspective.
Licensing & Safety
Recent reliability concerns aside, Skybet is still a fully licenced and regulated, legit gambling company. All of their licences seem to be registered under the name fBonne Terre Ltd, and these include a United Kingdom Gambling Commission permit and a local Alderney Gambling Control Commission licence. The UKGC licence means that this is a legal online bookmaker for UK punters, while the Alderney license governs all of Skybet’s international operations.
Currently, however, using Skybet’s services is highly restricted. As of the writing of this review, Skybet only accepts customers from the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, including the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. If you’re not from the British Isles, you will have to find another betting site.
The only exception to this is Skybet’s German-localised website, Skybet.de. Besides the branding, however, this website seems like a completely separate entity from regular Skybet, so not everything mentioned in this review applies there. It is, however, the only way of wagering with Skybet if you’re not from Ireland or the UK.
This brings us to the question of reputation and is probably the biggest problem with recommending Skybet right now. According to user reviews and feedback, it seems like undesirable practices such as suspending winning players and dodgy customer service seem to be commonplace with Skybet. Hopefully, this is simply a part of the new management’s growing pains, and everything will be back to normal soon.
Another worrying side to this is that the Skybet company is no longer operated by Sky. This makes the SkyTV advertisements a bit misleading. What worries us here is that Skybet no longer has to worry about maintaining a good reputation as a brand, opening the door for unpopular decisions that might not have been made otherwise.
As far as the security of funds and accounts on the top-rated betting site itself – you can rest easy on this front. Skybet uses industry-standard SSL encryption to keep all transactions secure and private. They also have a remarkably clean track record in this department.
Deposit and Withdrawals
Before a bookmaker can be judged for their odds and offers, the first thing you have to do while looking for a new online bookie is to make sure the payment options are in order. After all, you can’t stake any money if you can’t get it on to the betting site in the first place, right?
You options when it comes to deposits and withdrawals with Skybet are nothing to write home about, but they cover all of the most important bases. For starters, you can use all the typical credit and debit card payments, including Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Maestro, Solo, and Laser cards.
When it comes to eWallets, you can use the most common options of Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal. Also, for on the Skybet mobile betting app, you can use Apple Pay and Google Pay for iOs and Android respectively.
The minimal withdrawal you have to make is £10, regardless of the method you’re using. As far as we can tell, though, there is no set maximum limit to how much you can withdraw. Withdrawals usually take between 2 and 5 days – again, this depends on the payment option. All transactions are free of any hidden fees or tariffs, which is always nice.
However, even though there is no limit to how much you can take out from your account balance, Skybet does have a sportsbook-wide limit to how much you can win with a single bet. For football betting, this maximum payout is £500.000, for most elite European football leagues, and £250.000 for most other fixtures. For horse racing, £250.000 is the limit for all racing in the UK when an industry SP is declared. For all other races, the limit is £100.000.
All other sports generally have lower limits. Since pretty much every betting category on Skybet has a different limit, we recommend checking out the official website for your favourite sports before registering.
We’ve already gone through a lot of the problems this bookie has been experiencing, so we’ll try to avoid repeating ourselves. The gist is this: the internet is overflowing with negative reports about Skybet’s behaviour. Usually, a lot of these can be written off as a few disgruntled customers. For example, some of the most reliable betting sites we’ve come across often have negative reviews due to a few isolated incidents of bookies taking a long time to respond.
However, the sheer abundance of these reports is too much to be ignored. As we said, problems include restricting players who’ve won even marginal amounts, and customer service reps not communicating properly. However, in the short time we’ve spent getting in touch with Skybet’s customer service reps, we have had no issues. Of course, this included just a few simple questions, so we would still advise caution.
Speaking of, here are the ways which you can use to get in touch with Skybet if you have any questions or run into any issues:
24/7 Live Chat:The quickest way of getting in touch with customer support is through the live chat feature. Bear in mind this service is not available 24/7. Working hours are between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM GMT.
Email Support:One of the most common ways of communicating with bookmakers in 2020. All customer e-mails get replies within 24 hours.
Telephone Support: Alternatively, you can make a call to 00 44 330 024 4777 to resolve any issues in real-time.
Help centre. The Skybet website also features a comprehensive help section and should be the first place you look for information.
We should also point out that not all of these channels of communication are easily found. All in all, we would advise Skynet to make customer support more easily accessible to newcomers.
Market & Odds
Now we come to the point which managed to keep Skybet afloat for all these years, and arguably the most important factor for any bettor looking to profit from sports betting: the odds. The odds are the basic measure by which we compare the quality of any bookmaker, and you won’t get far without a decent offer to start with.
First of all, however, we should take a look at how Skybet’s offers rank in terms of variety. With more than 35 different sports and categories to chose from, this betting site is certainly not lacking.
The biggest draw of Skybet seems to be horse racing. Besides having to Best Odds Guaranteed, Skybet offers an impressive selection of races at all times, giving you the freedom to bet whenever you want. They also offer a lot of betting promotions for horse races, further pushing the attraction of these offers. Cheltenham betting seems to be the number one attraction, although Grand National betting is not far behind.
Of course, if you’re looking for some football betting, you won’t be disappointed either. Speedway, Snooker, MMA… Whatever your niche, you can bet on it with Skybet. If you can find and watch the sport on Sky Sport, you can almost certainly find it on Skybet as well. One notable exception would be eSports, which have also gained a lot of traction on this sportsbook. Major eSports event even get substantial odds boost.
Besides the sports we’ve named here, Skybet’s odds are a decent spread. Some offers are below average, while others are slightly ahead of the competition. All in all, the odds are not something to complain about, unlike some other aspects of Skybet’s service.
Live betting may have been an optional innovation years ago, but it can be found on any of the best betting sites in 2020.These days it threatens to overshadow the classic sportsbook in terms of popularity, and sportsbook operators have to keep up.
The In-play menu can be easily found on the left-hand side panel. It will take you to a selection of current sporting events. The odds and variety for thee follow the trend Skybet has set out for themselves: while it’s far from bad, the In-play betting service is just average. Not even the information screen will provide anything you can’t find on any other betting site.
However, being average is not necessarily a negative thing. If you stick to classic wagers and like to throw in a live bet now and then, Skybet will do just fine. If you’re specifically looking for Live betting sites, look elsewhere.
SkyBet Live Streaming Offer
Being connected to such a massive media brand might give off the impression that Skybet should have an amazing streaming service. Sadly, this is not the case. While they had a pretty good streaming feature until a few years ago, it has now been reduced to include exclusively the UK and Irish horse racing.
Whether this was done to maintain Sky Sports’ viewership or whatever other reason, it does not matter. What does matter is that you can only watch races if you stake £1 or more on them, which is more stringent than a majority of the competition.
SkyBet Bookmaker Margin
Odds, no matter how important they are, are not the only thing that determines your profits from online betting. Returns also depend on the size of the “cut” the bookie takes from each wager. This is what’s known as the bookmaker margin.
Overall, Skybet’s margins come back to the same word we’ve been repeating for the entire review: average. They add up to a median 5.4% across the board, which would be straight down the middle of a bookmaker ranking based on margins. If we start to dig deeper, however, we begin to notice some problems.
First of all, even though football betting is one of the most popular categories, it is saddled with a huge 6.0%. Having high football margins is unfortunately very common with bookies, but this is still a bit much. Another outlier would be Hockey with a margin of 8.9%.
Horse races do remain your best option, it seems, with a very reasonable margin of 4.3%.
As you can tell from all of the above, Skybet is in a strange position. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this sportsbook, it does not stand out with anything either. If you take into account all of the problems they’ve had in terms of reputation, too, choosing this betting site seems like a bit of a risk. And when other aspects of the service are this uninteresting, it begs the question: why take the risk at all?
When we consider all of these factors, it is hard to honestly recommend Skybet. Instead, you should probably take a look at some other options. Betting Fellow contains a lot of different bookmaker reviews and betting site rankings, so you can be sure you’re not wanting for options.
How to open an account at SkyBet?
As an incentive for new customers, Skybet is currently offering a welcome bonus. After you’ve placed your first bet with Skybet with a stake of at least £5, you’ll receive £20 in free bets. To take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is sign up for Skybet. Just follow these simple steps:
- Go to skybet.com using your internet browser
- Click the “join” button at the top of the screen.
- The first steps will require you to provide your full name and date of birth, making sure you are over 18 years old.
- You will also need to provide your billing address, e-mail address, and phone number.
- You will also be asked to select a few security questions. Other mandatory security measures include a 4-6 digit PIN code
- The final step will require you to perform KYC verification. To do this, you will need a valid passport, driver’s licence, or ID. You will also need an official document confirming your address. All legitimate online bookmakers are required to do this, to prevent minors from gambling, among other legal concerns.
The verification process might take a few days, but you will be able to start betting as soon as you’re finished with registration. Good luck!
SkyBet review FAQ
Can Skybet cancel a withdrawal?
If you’re a player trying to cancel your withdrawal request – the short answer is no. Once the request is processed, it cannot be cancelled or reversed, as per Skybet’s information. Depending on your banking method, the process might take a few business days. If you’re asking whether the bookmaker can cancel withdrawals, this depends on the situation. As it stands, Skybet can withhold your transactions, especially if they suspect foul play. However, such issues are usually quickly resolved. They cannot withhold payments for more than is warranted, and this would leave them open for legal action.
Skybet – how to request a bet?
Request A Bet is an innovative feature with Skybet which allows you to make your bets and request a price from the bookie. Essentially, you’re combining bets you otherwise wouldn’t be able to have the bookie give you a price for whatever you’ve created. All you have to do is turn on the “Request a Bet” toggle button on selected events. Then, make your selections as you would any other, and click “request bet.” Skybet’s trading team will try to price the bet. You can also see and use requested bets made by other people.
Skybet – how long does it take to withdraw?
Withdrawals usually take between 2 and 5 days. This applies to all withdrawal methods.
Can I use Skybet abroad?
Skybet’s services are currently limited strictly to Ireland and the UK. This is a legal matter above all, so there is no room for leniency. As such, Skybet usually blocks all traffic from anywhere besides these countries, meaning that you cannot access the betting site from anywhere else.
Skybet – Why is my account suspended?
As per Skybet’s Terms and Conditions, the sportsbook can suspend the accounts of anyone suspected of breaking the rules. Generally, this applies to people who attempt betting arbitrage, have multiple accounts, and similar. Sadly, though, sometimes peoples accounts are suspended simply for winning too much. This has become one of the major problems with Skybet in recent years and is one of the issues we’ve discussed in the review above.