Last updated May 18th, 2021
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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Need more details Josh please.
I had been betting without too many problems but have now been excluded from offers with no explanation given. Could phone up but no doubt would involve a long wait and likely achieve nothing. Anyway there are other more reliable online bookmakers so Sky's loss.
Worst operator ever, has to be. Documents application in order to withdraw winnings similar to MI5. Robots and AI on the other side. Never felt so frustrated. Should’ve read the reviews before I trusted this so called UK recognisable brand. Taking matters further in order to restore justice.
I won a football bet yet they didn't pay out as it 'wasn't in the 90 minutes', yet this wasn't shown anywhere on their website when placing the bet. It is hidden information so that they're legally covered and people still place bets with them.
My son had account he lost £500. Then he had some wins but was still losing over £100. He had £400 in his account, which they closed and they said he had been cheating by betting after the result. As we know, this isn’t possible. They won’t give him his £400 back either - just closed his account and won’t respond to emails. So he is £500 down. How can they do this?
Legal fraud. Do not use this site. They have banned me from promotions for no reason but I can use the whole site fine! It is because I was in profit. They will take your money and advertise promos, then they don’t pay out. The site is user friendly but it’s corrupt and I don’t understand how they pass an audit. Are regulators getting paid off with our money? Disgrace.
Been a loyal customer for over 20 years. Won a substantial amount (6 figures) in November and withdrew it in 2 separate transactions. First part was paid to my account, the second was never paid. The first amount has been taken back from my bank account by them. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour. Three months later I'm still waiting to be paid and they just don't reply to anything. Very very disappointed and disgusted after 20 loyal years. To make matters worse William Hill also wont pay out a 6 figure sum from boxing day either. One was bad enough but two! Very very disappointed with both of them and still waiting. Disgraceful.
ScumBet! These criminals froze my account and refuse to release my balance which is in the thousands. I have live chatted them daily and they promise to ring me in a couple of days but don't. This process has been repeated for a month. I don't want to have the account any more. I just want my money.
Not a good company to bet with. Every time I put an EW bet on you can guarantee they will reduce the price a point or 2 to limit / reduce their potential payout even though there is no market move or reduced odds on any other betting platform. Not happy with them at all as it happens every time.
How is this company, SkyBet, getting away with it. No phone lines available, live chat not available, so basically you can't contact them only by email - also no reply. Fraudulent behaviour using 3rd party streaming service as an excuse. There have been several whistleblowers, one from B365. They said, winning customers - their streams are held back with in-play betting and believe me that is 100% true. What are the governing bodies doing? Turning a bling eye. If you note the TV adverts - don't gamble if you're low etc. Then minutes later there an advert bet £10 get £10 free. Absolute jokers. Little dwarf Betfred - Gamble responsibly. He wasn't saying that when he was cramming the FOBTS in the shop. Couldn't get enough. Hyprocrites the lot. What is IBAS for? What is UKGC for? Useless the lot.
Pathetic behaviour from Sky Bet. Suspended from promotions because I've strung together a few tiny wins. Their liability management didn't bother them when I was consistently losing earlier in the year. They don't deserve your business.
Been betting with Skybet for over eight years, mainly only football, won some lost some. Anyway came across a website that relays certain live scores on certain leagues around the world that is at least eight seconds in front of SkyBet's in-play update. Needless to say after I had won over £4000 in less than two weeks, they withheld my last win of £390, only after taking the bet and paying out the bet and then within 5 minutes revoking my winnings, claiming it was a late bet. They have now also changed my in-play delay time from 5 seconds to 15 seconds with the explanation of . . . your delay is 3 x the normal delay this is due to you are placing a lot of in-play bets and our traders made the decision for your account to be slightly delayed. Now there is me thinking they would want people to place a lot of in-play bets. What they really mean is, you are winning too much on in-play bets.
Terrible site, constantly refusing to pay out winning bets, no honour.
I was dropped an email a few days back as I have been placing singles and cashing out straight away rather than going through the cards and losing like a mug. I have made profit the last few weeks but I am still minus a fair bit for the last few years. Skybet are exploiting KYC (Know Your Customer) as my account is turning a profit. My account is testimony to this. They will do absolutely nothing to losing accounts but will quickly start to restrict bets, then of course the betting account, when you are winning as they will not want you clawing back losses. They will be monitoring betting patterns and can see I am not intending to keep lining their pockets. This company is criminal. I can easily prove source of funds but Skybet has just lost a loyal customer. I will bet with a more transparent and fair company.
I opened an account with sky bet, deposited £40 last Saturday and had some luck turning it into £135 woke up on the Sunday to find they had closed my account. So I rang them up, was put on hold for 20mins by the way explained to the customer service representative who then became aggressive toward me demanding to know if I had any accounts with other bookmakers. I said yes i have one with Ladbrokes he then says we noticed you backed a few winner's Saturday I said "yes and . . "? He said well we won't be offering an account with us in a very aggressive way. I says ok why is that? We can't disclose he says, I lost my temper and said why have you really closed my account he just replied go and win somewhere else. I was stunned, he then put the phone down. I've emailed them absolutely no response. I warn you all stay away from these. They are running their business in a disgraceful disgusting and I would dare to say borderline illegal manner. I have contacted the gambling commission and trading standards but to no avail. These criminals seem to be beyond the law. Stay away and also by the way they have no connection to sky television as I found out subsequently. I've also sent a letter to the ombudsman but not giving up. I'll be on this long term.
I'd give 0 stars if i could. I opened an account as I was told I couldn't enter the ITV7 without one, even though ITV don't mention that. Bookie's friend Ed Chamberlain fails to mention that but why would he. He is in their pocket - you've seen the adverts, anyway so I opened the skybet account and was offered a free bet for doing so. Great I thought and even won £31 off it. Great, so I collected, within 24 hrs found my betting account was closed. I couldn't believe it and they flatly refused to give a reason. I spoke to the most degenerate misfit i have ever come across, a truly disturbed individual who sounded high on the phone. I then spoke to a manager who was condescending, rude and disrespectful and even sniggered at one stage. So now can't even do the ITV7. Ed Chamberlain of ITV should be ashamed tricking people. They don't mention skybet when pushing the ITV7. As for skybet, a company of zero morals, truly corrupted and their workers on the customer service line at Leeds are beyond degenerate misfits. They are stone cold losers in life and take out their chip on their shoulder and bitterness on customers. Avoid these scumbags, SkyBet, at all costs. Also Ed Chamberlain is no punters' pal like he lets on. He is being pimped out by SkyBet to trick viewers.
Have been using SkyBet for some time and always found it easy to navigate. I have spoken to Customer Services and previously they have been fair. Today they have changed their 'Best Odds Guaranteed' terms and you will have to check it applies if there is another promotion on the same race. In the case of 1.50 at Ascot, I placed a bet at 7/2 and it won at 6/1. In the overall play of things, it was a small £10 bet. This would have only made a £25 difference. The fact is they referred to t&cs which have been supposedly sent out and never received. I understand BOG across the board has changed and is only available on the day of the race. CS have obviously had many calls today as there was a stock response so they were prepared. Vote with your wallet and go elsewhere!
Avoid at all costs. I can not exactly outline my complaint as I have appointed legal representation. However, if you are a VIP player (6 figures annually) SkyBet is definitely not the firm to use. My dispute with them has already cost them 25+ VIP players 😀
Once again SkyBet cannot be interested about customer service, just profit. They are not prepared to pay ARC or the greyhounds so we do not get the form, colours or even see the races. They just do not care. The classic problem of equity companies goodbye sky......non.....bet.
Made a few hundred pounds on football card betting in a week or so and had the stake restriction email this morning. No doubt if I were playing the slots and losing hundreds they would still be inundating me with lots of offers enticing me to lose even more (consistent with seeking to heap misery on the many). They are scum. Don’t want to give any stars but can’t post the review unless I give at least one.
I feel it is about time i reported this site. I have had many bad experiences and it has finally gone beyond a joke. SkyBet has on two occasions in the last couple of weeks stole two debit card payments at exactly 01:41am (including this morning). I got my bank to reverse the payment back. Because i bet quite often on the football they think i will NOT notice when money gets taken out of my account due to many pending transactions but i do. My brother warned me about them when they used to steal money from his account but i did not listen. I have had to also call them when they have not paid out my full winnings on bets. They then refund me. If one team get postponed or abandoned the amount of money they take off your bet is ridiculous. The only reason I joined SkyBet was because of the fast withdrawal, which again has been a problem. I have had to call them to withdraw my money manually well after 2 hours. This thieving corrupted site DOES need investigating. See for yourselves people . . . update 7th october after stealing money from my account skybet did NOT investigate my complaint but decided to close my account permanently.
In play betting is a joke, when you win they tell you the bet was not placed in time. Really poor customers services, think they employee a lot of young kids, cheap labour, minimum wage. I would leave well alone, if you do your homework you will see there is lots of negative feedback.
Initially thought was a good site, however I have been ripped off so many times it is no coincidence. I used to think it was me, but the amount of times the bet has changed from what I thought is very suspicious. The way they word the bets is dodgy as well. For example I put a bet on a tennis match for the correct score of the next set. However despite the set not even being started, they put it on the following set, as if the one I bet on was already in progress. I even showed them the times of when I placed the bet. All they said was I should check my bet and make sure it's the right one. Well I didn't know their wording was deliberately misleading. Also, I've noticed they will occasionally not allow you to place covering bets in play, despite offering odds on the home screen and other sites allowing bets for the same result, i.e. they will suspend the betting, just for your account. I know I sound crazy, but I know I'm right. Avoid.
A gambling company operating from a tax haven. I'm shocked. Come on, that's standard practice. What bad odds would we get if they didn't. I've been matched betting with them for ages and have made a tidy profit, whilst making some hefty withdrawals from them. It's an easy to use site and any bonuses are added promptly, probably the only site that I haven't had to email at some point, regarding bonuses not being applied. Ok, I have just been gubbed, but hey, I had a good run with them.
Their website operates well, hence this is *** rather than *. However, in 2017 I think they refused to pay a withdrawal. I threatened legal action and it was paid. I still have the a/c - no idea if they'll pay out next time I win. On politics, which is the main area I bet on, my impression is that their odds are better than some other well known bookmakers who possibly employ more experienced odds-setters. They do restrict some bets but have not yet done this enough to persuade me to close the a/c.
My bets have been restricted recently. I used to be able to get maybe a hundred pounds on football matches. Now I am down to silly limits of a few pounds only. They haven't outright closed my betting activity but have deliberately reduced it to a level where I can't use them any more. They have done this yet all the time I am seeing their stupid and annoying TV adverts everywhere claiming they are Britain's most popular bookmaker - which is a pack of lies. The trade press seem to crawl up their backside too, yet this is a very bad bookmaker. How can they be allowed to behave so badly in a regulated environment like the UK? What is the feeble Gambling Commission doing? Nothing. Just taking money for licenses and slapping the odd wrist. SkyBet should not be allowed to operate in such a rogue manner. Your negative SkyBet review on this page is the most honest and accurate assessment of this bookmaker that I have read.
I lost a lot of money on their virtual racing it takes thousands of pounds off of you and the win percentage is awful.
Worst betting company I've ever had the misfortune to bet with. Great when I was losing, but when I managed to have a winning run, had restrictions slapped on me, best odds guaranteed withdrawn. Tried to place an even 30 quid, and told they would only lay me an even tenner, and the last straw, when trying to have 30 quid at 7/2, was told they would only lay me £2,15p at 7/2! Stay away from these conmen. They should have their licence revoked.
My name is Philip Cottrell-Spain and I have used SkyBet on several occasions and have found them to operate fairly. My bets were paid promptly and the customer service team were helpful. That's my experience of course but it was a positive one.
This is the most accurate and comprehensive Skybet review that I have read. I got sucked in by all their wall-to-wall advertising. Given the slick nature of the adverts and the use of z-list celebrities, I thought betting with them would be a good experience and it started well but soon I was not able to get my usual bet sizes on. I think it was because of the winner I backed. I contacted customer service and got some snotty response that they can manage their risk how they like. It was a far cry from the adverts and they couldn’t give a fig. Skybet has to be the worst bookmaker I have ever used. What’s all the regulation for if they get away with such bad service . . . and now I see they don’t even pay proper taxes, using a scam scheme via Alderney to avoid corporation tax due.
Avoid at all cost! Nothing but bad experience with SkyBet! (Hestview Ltd) apparently a Leeds based bookies how this company is able to get away with all they do is obviously not right doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out exactly what’s going on?! But why aren’t HMRC aren’t chasing them for millions when they are clearly massive tax avoiders. I know some one taken to court and prosecutors over £2,300 for not declaring profit on pet puppies they sold, it just doesn’t make sense it would’ve cost more to gather the information and evidence and take them to court than the fine exposed? But HMRC aren’t bothered that this company is tax avoiding on a massive scale as well withholding winnings and in my case even withholding my own money I deposited! 100s of unhappy customers and fines imposed on them. How can the gaming and gambling commissions say this company complies with its licensing? They are not responsible in any way and are only after one thing “ Money” they want to take all their customers' money irresponsibly. They never want to pay out winnings using different loop holes to suspend accounts, and they don’t want to pay full tax why aren’t they being investigated further I wonder?! Instead of lining their pockets we should be asking questions! Bet somewhere else, I know I am from now on!!
I bet with them at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time. Slow site, low limits and less markets than the likes of Bet365. I guess this site is OK for 50p each-way punters but if you actually want a few proper bets then this is the worst all-round experience that I have suffered. When I contacted customer service, no help at all. Waste of time.
I have been a regular customer for just over 10 years,making probably 90% of all my bets with this company. Will definitely be down over all that time and never had any problems until the last few months. But now it's gone beyond a joke. They offered me up to £10 back as a free bet on a roulette promotion. Cut a long story short on two separate occasions I kept to their terms and conditions but never received £10 back as a free bet. I have now emailed them four separate times and they have not even had the common decency to reply. BASICALLY THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NON EXISTENT. To be honest the £10 back as a free bet is not the main thing that has annoyed me, as it's not a massive amount. It is the fact that i don't like it when you are promised something and the company does not deliver. Basically the whole thing comes across as a whole big lie, if not a scam. I call on others to hurt these people where it hurts them the most, their profits. Use one of their competitors. I do now. It's Paddy Power and Ladbrokes for me.
I want to give no stars at all but that is not an option. They started reducing the amount of money I could get on. Now it is unworkable. Customer service refused to sort this out and just wanted me to get lost. Why not simply close my sports betting account entirely? SkyBet have as good as done that. They advertise all over TV and I have seen them saying they are the UK's most popular bookmaker. That should be 'least popular' if honesty and quality of service mean anything. Do not join SkyBet.
Bit by bit they have been reducing the betting stakes sizes I can get on sports. I am a losing customer overall but I am now at the stage where trying to bet with SkyBet has become soul-destroying. I did enjoy using their website at the beginning, but have been forced to move on. If they think I am shrewd then they must be stopping hundreds of thousands of people from getting their requested stakes on. This bookie is fine if you want to bet a few pounds at a time, any more than that and if you have a few successes then you get on their radar.
How come SkyBet let me lose and then stop me when I started winning? They have not stolen any money from me, but this is not bookmaking. How does their betting license allow this?
Skybet is a dreadful betting firm if you want a regular place to bet. As soon as you start winning they make changes to your betting account to stop you from playing. Integrity is not a word they know.
Uncompetitive with their pricing. I have registered with most of the big names online bookmakers and Sky Bet Bookie is certainly one of the worst. I get the impression that they do not try very hard to compete and you can't get a three digit bet on to save your life. In fact some of my stakes have been outright rejected. Are they in business or not?
I was a regular punter at Sky Bet but it has got worse recently and they have started to refuse some of my bet sizes. Website slow and difficult.
One of the worst bookies I have bet at. Just don't start backing winners or you soon get restricted. Losers only wanted here.
I took advantage of their no deposit bonus. £10 for nothing but registering is not bad. Then deposited some money and had a few bets and was limited quite quickly, probably because I had a lucky streak. Not worth the hassle.
Sorry to hear that, we are aware that you are not the only one with these problems.