Sky Betting says online is best for now

UK gambling group shifts focus away from interactive television betting until technology improves

Having initially prioritised interactive television gambling over its more conventional online offering, Sky Betting and Gaming is to refocus on the latter until better interactive tv technology is available, managing director Richard Flint revealed this week.

The decision apparently stems from a study of customer behaviour which showed a preference for online gambling over interactive tv action.

Giving numbers to back the finding, Flint revealed that weekly unique users of Sky Betting and Gaming’s four egaming sites - SkyPoker, SkyBingo, SkyBet and SkyVegas – increased by almost a third to roughly 80 000 a week in 2009, from roughly 60 000 a week in 2008, while interactive television users fell by the same proportion to 5 000, from 7 500 a week in 2008.

“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,” Flint commented.

The new technologies could take over two years to make further changes possible; Sky Betting's 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. However, in the short Sky Betting's thrust will focus on the Internet and mobile operations.

Sky Betting posted good half year results of GBP 30 million in gross margin, an increase of over 20 percent on last year's GBP 24.7 million over the same period on turnover that was up 19 percent.

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