In April of this year, it was announced by the Star Group that they were set to acquire Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) in a move that now sees it secured in its position as the world’s largest publicly traded gambling company online. The Stars Group is the parent company of The Poker Stars and formally known as Amaya and according to CEO Rafi Ashkenazi, the group now owns the brands Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Bingo, Sky Poker and Sky Bet. The comparison site Oddschecker has also been taken over in the deal that has seen the company create “…revenue diversity…” according to Ashkenazi.
The CEO was also quoted as saying that the Sky Betting acquisition creates “…a balanced spreadsheet across poker, casino and sportsbook…”
The Stars Group has taken an interest in recent years in sports betting and as this avenue of online gambling has continued to grow this has prompted the acquisition of Sky Betting.
Sky Bet, the sports betting platform of SBG has the UK’s largest active user-base and globally, is the biggest regulated betting market for sports online.
SBG was previously owned by Sky, the telecom and satellite broadcaster and Sky is partially owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Company. In 2014, Sky sold much of the equity in SBG to CVC, an investment group for £800 million. Sky still holds a 20% share in SBG and it is hoped that following The Star Groups take-over more opportunities for expansion into the US market will become available.
Sky TV, until very recently held the rights to the Premier League broadcasting and this is what largely directed Sky Bets continued growth despite a plateau in online poker which was the main offering of the site. Whether or not Sky TV will continue to offer the UK Premier football league is another matter and how this will affect Sky Bet is unknown.
What is for certain is that 2017 was a profitable year for the betting giants with Sky Bet’s revenues growing to £516 million with a 31% increase in customers seeing figures topping 2.6 million.
These profits are up 38% from 2016 and in the first half of 2018, these figures don’t look set to level off. Estimates put revenues at £210 million, a 58% increase and it has in-play betting apps to thank.
80% of the revenues generated by SBG have been generated via mobile devices with the strong relationship between the Premier League and Sky Bet driving much of the success.
The Star Group have been quietly taking over the online gaming scene for some time now. In 2014, it acquired PokerStars for a reported $4.9 billion, propelling it from a relatively unknown company to a betting giant. Not content to stop there, in March of this year, The Stars Group became a major shareholder in CrownBet, of Australia’s online sports sites. A few days after this CrownBet took over William Hill’s operations in Australia.
The group did have hopes to develop PokerStars in Australia but that deal did not go through to completion. Despite this, the group have been making incredibly savvy moves in the online gambling industry for some time now with the most recent transaction being the biggest.
What is next for the online gaming behemoth is not known, however, with CEO Rafi Ashkenazi at the helm, it is predicted that the organisation will continue to go from strength to strength. Only time will tell if this is the case but with profits continuing to rise it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict big things for the ambitious Stars Group.
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