January 28, 2010

Sky Betting to switch focus to online in 2010

Sky Betting and Gaming is changing its focus to online gambling rather than interactive TV gambling until TV technology improves, managing director Richard Flint has said.

Weekly unique users of Sky Betting and Gaming’s four egaming sites - SkyPoker, SkyBingo, SkyBet (sports betting) and SkyVegas (casino) – increased by roughly a third to roughly 80,000 a week in 2009, from roughly 60,000 a week in 2008, he said, while interactive TV users fell by the same proportion to 5,000, from 7,500 a week in 2008.

Flint said: “Looking back our focus was on interactive TV, but as technology hasn’t moved as quickly as we would have liked, we have changed our focus to be an online company instead of a TV company.”

Broadcasting giant and parent company BSkyB is to roll out broadband connected set-top TV boxes over the next two years that will improve the availability of quality interactive TV technology, he added, “but in the short term our focus will be on internet and mobile.” Sky’s mobile sports betting service is provided by Mkodo, and mobile gaming by Million-2-1.

The news coincided with the division’s own half-year results, which showed gross margin of £30m, up more than a fifth on the £24.7m it recorded the year before.

This beat the average recorded by BSkyB, as whole, which reported a 4% rise in profit for the period boosted by the popularity of its high-definition packages. Division turnover rose 19%, but did not disclose the exact figure.

In an unrelated development, Sky Betting and Gaming signed a deal with online payments business Neovia for the supply of Neovia's Neteller wallet solution yesterday.

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