Group Betting: How Sky Bet Added A Social Dimension To Sports Betting

Posted By Joss Wood on July 30, 2018
Group Betting

UK company, Sky Bet has come up with a neat innovation that allows friends to make sports bets together.

The new Group Betting function allows players to create a group in which they build an accumulator bet with each member of the group making one selection each.

The FAQ makes it clear that each wager continues to be made from each individual bettor’s account.

“The selections forming the Group Bet will be made jointly by the customer and the other customer(s), however the Group Bet will be placed individually by each customer, it will not constitute any form of syndicate or pools betting.”

Key Features of Group Betting

  • Minimum group size is two people
  • Maximum group size is 50 people
  • Each bettor can join a maximum of 5 groups
  • The Group Bet will be available for additional selections to be added until the kick off of the earliest selection
  • Bets will be closed if no selections are made within 7 days of the bet being created
  • If a selection within a multiple bet (e.g. doubles, trebles, accumulators) is voided then the bet will become the next accumulative bet down, e.g. a treble will become a double etc.
  • If a selection is classed as an Ante-post bet the bet will be classed as a losing bet

Sky is formalizing an informal practice

Andy Evans, Sky Bet’s principal product manager told iGamingBusiness that:

“The idea of Group Bets came through the internal CoLab project that we ran earlier this year. Essentially we’ve taken a behaviour that already exists and created an experience that satisfies users’ needs and simplifies that activity for them.”

Evans explained that the new feature was still open for further development:

“We’re still in a Beta phase, but the aim is see how customers respond to what we’ve done so far and see what it is that interests them most.”

Sky Bet is not available in the US, yet

Sky Bet is part of Sky Betting & Gaming which has just been bought by The Stars Group for $4.7 billion. Sky Bet is not available to US customers, but there is the possibility that that might soon change.

The Stars Group owns PokerStars which is operating in the state-regulated New Jersey online poker market. PokerStars is also likely to offer online poker in Pennsylvania.

It is strongly rumored that PokerStars has partnered with the Mount Airy Casino in PA, and the Mount Airy Casino has already put up $10 million for a state online gambling license. A sports betting license will cost it another $10 million, but that would enable the casino to launch branded sports betting either with The Stars Group and/or its other partner 888.

The Stars Group hasn’t yet released its Q2 results this year, but when it does, CEO Rafi Ashknazi will be sure to mention the sports betting opportunity in the US. Something for which its acquisition of Sky will be ideal preparation.

A tortuous possibility, but the legalization of state-regulated sports betting will shake up the market. New industry players and new brands will emerge as gambling operators, both on and offline, scramble for a share of the revenues on offer.

Regulation stifles innovation

One major risk of tough gambling regulation is that it can reduce the incentive for licensees to innovate. Their licenses give them privileged and protected access to a market so they are not exposed to the full force of international competition.

The US state-regulated markets are typified by the regulatory demand that online operators must partner with land-based casinos. This means that the casinos benefit from the innovations the online operators bring as the result of their need to remain competitive globally.

The upshot is that US sports bettors should be getting the best of both worlds; local, accountable gambling regulation with world-class gambling products.

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

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