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Summary

We no longer trust SkyBet. Our betting account was limited and restricted quickly. They have a terrible reputation for restricting winning players or even those punters who just string a few fortunate winners together. They are on record admitting to this deliberate policy.

SkyBet restrict winners, withheld funds, use tax haven, bad customer service

We no longer trust SkyBet. Our betting account was limited and restricted quickly. They have a terrible reputation for restricting winning players or even those punters who just string a few fortunate winners together. They are on record admitting to this deliberate policy. They only want losers. They are owned largely by a venture capital company whose only interest is money. Little wonder their customer service is abysmal.

If you think we must have a grudge, then think again as on the famous site TrustPilot they have a rating of just 1 out of 10 based on around 500 independent SkyBet reviews. So it is not just JustBookies that believes you should run a mile from this firm.

They were also fined for, among other devious behaviour, withholding the funds of self-excluded players. We have more about that in the next section.

The gambling industry should not host dishonest bookmakers

SkyBet manages most of their betting operation through an offshore tax haven, using the Alderney-registered “Bonne Terre Ltd” that is identical in name to the one that they quietly dissolved in the UK. It looks like that was done to deflect suspicion and obscure their tax avoidance strategy. They even disingenuously give a Leeds address for this Alderney company on their licence application to the Gambling Commission. This sleight of hand, passing off an Alderney company as an English one, may come back to haunt them. It is a situation that the Gambling Commission, HMRC and investigative journalists should be looking at.

Whatever way you angle it, SkyBet is bad news. We strongly advise that you not to join them, instead try this list of honest bookmakers.
If you are or have been a customer of theirs, please leave your SkyBet review and feedback at the bottom of this page.

SkyBet Withhold Customer Funds: Fined £1m

There are many examples of SkyBet’s money-grabbing behaviour and contempt for clients’ funds. One of them relates to a £1 million fine SkyBet received in March 2018 for a catalogue of wrong-doing in relation to clients who had chosen to self-exclude. SkyBet took advantage of these players in several ways:

  • 736 players who self-excluded because of their problem gambling were allowed to open duplicate betting accounts and keep playing.
  • 50,000 who self-excluded were still spammed by SkyBet with promotional offers by text and email.
  • It gets worse: SkyBet stole the client balances of players who had self-excluded, failing to return account balances to these players.

Rather than fining SkyBet a paltry amount, the Gambling Commission should be withdrawing the licenses of corrupt operators. The gambling industry should not play host to dishonest bookmakers and SkyBet should be put out of business.

  • Source: SkyBet Fined £1m by BBC News

SkyBet Bookmaker Historical Review

Here we take a look at the history of SkyBet and chart its reputational rise and fall. As the name suggest, it was formed through the Rupert Murdoch-backed company of the same name. Nowadays the majority shareholder is CVC Capital Partners, a venture capital company only interested in profits to the exclusion, seemingly, of all else. It is under CVC Capital’s watch that the company has become so hard to trust.

Let us rewind for a moment, to when Rupert Murdoch was the man behind the vision. You would expect a Murdoch company simply to go out and buy an online betting company when he wanted to get involved in that market. In a sense that happened but it was an organic growth of acquired companies, if you follow that drift, that he built up the client base.

The first acquisition was a strange one. At the start of this century they bought a company called Hestview Ltd that traded as Surrey Sports. This company was the foundation stone of the SkyBet betting division. The reason this was a particularly odd purchase was that Surrey Sports was so small and was not even trading on the internet. It was basically a minor telephone betting company. You would be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of mistake, for the Murdoch empire had bought an irrelevant minnow of the gambling world. This was not an appropriate beginning for such a big fish and there was work to be done.

Meanwhile, in a parallel world, a company called ukbetting started from scratch in a London kitchen in August 1998 as the first UK-based online bookmaker. ukbetting was sold in 2000 to ENIC Plc, the then investment division of the current owners of Tottenham. Current Spurs chairman Daniel Levy negotiated the purchase. Levy then sold on a controlling share and at the same time floated the firm to create ukbetting Plc. It was a very quiet transaction, but the new public company followed the advice of ukbetting’s original founder and bought the Sporting Life website. The next purchase was the Tote’s badly-run and rather rudderless Totalbet internet betting site. Then the company bought a host of other media sports sites.

Well, what has that got to do with SkyBet Bookmaker? You guessed it. Spotting the potential, they bought ukbetting Plc, which by now had changed its name to the 365Media Group. That name was an eye-raising choice given the fact there was the completely unrelated and already booming Bet365 operation. But you sort of got the impression the directors of 365Media Group, prior to Sky’s purchase of it, did not know the betting industry too well. Perhaps they missed the fact that one of their chief competitors was called the remarkably similar Bet365. Despite their ignorance, they did do well out of the sale.

Sky merged the ukbetting and Totalbet brands into SkyBet and suddenly Murdoch had a serious gambling company on his hands. They set about a review of the business and ensuring all the media sites, as well as their own websites and sports TV satellite stations, fed the betting operation. The synergies were obvious and the firm has taken full advantage, turning that once ugly duckling called Hestview Ltd into an online gambling empire.

If you have made it this far with this JustBookies.com Sky Bet review then you have read a unique and accurate history of the birth and development of Murdoch’s betting business. What was created had been the envy of its rivals: sports content sites and media organisations feeding millions of punters per annum to the online interactive betting site.

It is unfortunate that under the watch of CVC Capital Partners, who took over the reins in 2014, SkyBet’s reputation has declined and its structure has been taken offshore in the most shady way possible, by dissolving an England-registered company and creating in its place an Alderney company, Bonne Terre Limited, of identical name. You would almost think they didn’t want anyone to notice! Perhaps HMRC are not that easily put off the scent, but who knows?

In addition, in 2017, CVC Capital conned, scammed and ripped off their affiliate partners, ignoring the terms and conditions of existing contracts. They cancelled agreements and stole the forward earnings that had been promised to affiliates as part of those contracts. They used the excuse of the Gambling Commission’s tightened regulation and compliance. That is all it was – an excuse not to pay money that was due in perpetuity on player bases built up over many years. The proof that their ‘compliance’ reasoning was merely a lie is that they continue to deal with some of the biggest affiliates, ironically including the ones who were least compliant. It was just a cash grab, perhaps better known as daylight robbery, a scam or theft.

The way SkyBet has been run by its majority owner, CVC Capital Partners, means it can not possibly be trusted with players’ funds. This is a firm that boasts about limiting players who dare to win at sports betting. So with SkyBet, you lose when you lose and you lose when you win. This SkyBet review conclusion has to be that it is a firm to be avoided at all costs. Don’t get suckered in by the wall-to-wall advertising (only lemmings need apply) or the fact it shares its name with Sky TV. The profits are not being taxed at English tax rates, yet that is the territory where their company, staff and most players are actually located. All decision-making goes through Leeds, but the company chooses the tax haven of Alderney to file most of its returns. How nobody has noticed this possible tax scam beggars belief.

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