SkyBet Use “Social Media Tipsters” as Excuse to Drop Affiliate Scheme

One of the largest interactive sports betting and gambling companies in the United Kingdom, Sky Betting & Gaming provoked wrath among its affiliate partners by announcing its plans to altogether drop down its affiliate program. The gaming operator runs a number of popular iGaming brands, such as SkyBet, Sky Poker, Sky Vegas, Sky Bingo, and Sky Casino.

The company made the announcement of its affiliate program’s shutdown via email, giving its affiliates a thirty-day notice, which is to say the scheme will officially close down as of October 2, 2017. It makes sense that this decision was met with strong discontent on behalf of the members of SkyBet’s affiliate program as many of them may experience a drastic drop in profits.

In the email, Sky Betting & Gaming themselves referred to the decision as “difficult” but representatives of the company went on to explain that the program’s closure was a necessity due to the stringent regulatory changes looming over gambling operators, based in the United Kingdom.

SkyBet Blames Stricter Regulatory Measures for the Shutdown

Earlier this summer, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), which is the main regulator of gambling activities in the country, announced plans on tightening its regulatory policies in an attempt to curb down betting on unauthorized gambling websites and thus, hinder the growth of the black market in the UK.

Also, the Gambling Commission recently made it clear that it plans on toughening its stance on the legal responsibility operators licensed in the country should assume for their affiliates’ advertising. It was decided on introducing stricter measures after several major gambling operators were fined because of their affiliates’ unethical advertisement policies.

BGO was the first one to suffer a penalty after one of its affiliates published misleading advertisements as a means to attract players. Then, the Gambling Commission bared its teeth to Lottoland and demanded that the operator pays a hefty fine because it has violated marketing codes, following the broadcast of a radio advertisement which featured misleading content.

Members of the Sky Betting & Gaming governance explained in their email that the company prefers to end their relationship with all affiliates because maintaining the program “presents a significant risk” to the leading UK betting brand. The stricter affiliate regulations imposed by the Commission were simply too much for the company.

Thus, Sky Betting & Gaming preferred to discontinue the program altogether and manage its advertisement messages on its own. This course of action is to allow for a greater control when it comes to advertising the operator’s services and thus, is expected to significantly decrease the risks of facing a UKGC penalty. At least this is what Sky Betting & Gaming specified as the official reason for ending their partnership with their affiliates.

Is SkyBet Attempting to Save on Affiliate Expenses?

Some affiliates who provide operators’ customers with faulty information may also have influenced the tough decision Sky Betting & Gaming took. The said “social media tipsters”, as they are called, make a living by providing their followers with betting information in regard to the outcomes of sports betting events. Unfortunately, this information is not always correct as became evident by a tipster Twitter account where it was practically suggested to the followers to make bets on losing teams.

The affiliate in question is registered as @FootyAccums on Twitter and has a massive following which exceeds half a million people. The account holders suggested that their followers should place an accumulator bet that Slovenia, Denmark, Northern Ireland, and Montenegro will all qualify for the World Cup and recommended people to make their £10 stakes on bet365 while FootyAccums themselves had staked only £1. One fellow Twitter poster took notice of the “mistake”, called out the fraudsters, and received a block as a response.

Interestingly enough, this is not the only instance of this Twitter account attempting to trick sports fans into making losing bets. Yesterday, it was recommending that followers should open real-money accounts at several sports betting platforms – bet365, Ladbrokes Coral, Betway, Betfair, and not surprisingly, SkyBet. Five bets were recommended that day, with odds ranging between 11 to 1 and 30 to 1.

Since such “tipsters” are known to attract a great number of new customers to the websites of bookmakers, major gambling operators often face criticism for their wrongdoings. Some industry insiders interpreted these frauds as the potential cause for Sky Betting & Gaming’s decision to drop its affiliate scheme and stressed that this may lead to a significant reduction in the operator’s revenue.

However, these assumptions lead to the question was it not possible for Sky Betting & Gaming to simply ban the faulty affiliate from its scheme instead of closing the entire program down. Many affiliates question the operator’s decision and are left with the impression the company is simply attempting to save money from its affiliate scheme by ceasing to pay its members. Besides, this may prove to be far from the optimal decision for affiliates since dropping the program will cause them to lose substantial amounts of their revenue.

The Operator’s Affiliates are Anything but Amused

Following the unfortunate announcement, members of the operator’s affiliate program will have no other option but to remove all promotional materials and links pertaining to the brand from their websites. They are given until October 2 to do so, with the last payment cycle for the company’s affiliates starting at the end of this month.

The news of the affiliate program shutdown caused a good deal of controversy among Sky Betting & Gaming’s affiliates and sparked heated debates in these circles. Members of the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association or GPWA, a major message board dedicated to affiliates working with renowned betting operators, are anything but amused by the situation.

The operator’s announcement caused a number of concerns among members of this affiliate community. For many, the greatest distress is that they will lose a considerable portion of their revenue after the affiliate scheme is officially dropped. For some people, this may not be an issue but there are affiliates, who collect as much as 90% of their revenue precisely from promoting the products and services of Sky Betting & Gaming. Certain members of the GPWA boards went as far as to hint their losses will amount to six-figure sums. The operator’s decision will inevitably lead to the demise of such affiliates, causing them to go out of business.

Other members of the affiliate community are so frustrated that they are even toying with the idea of pressing legal charges against the major betting provider. The reasons? Breach of contract due to the fact that the company originally advertised a “lifetime revenue share” for participants in its affiliate scheme. Some people at GPWA went as far as to suggest a group legal action against the operator but when you have your business to lose, such suggestions certainly make sense.

Then again, some affiliates firmly believe that the shutdown of the scheme will prove to be the beginning of the end for Sky Betting & Gaming as it will cause the betting giant’s business to shrivel significantly. This translates into shrinkage of profits so such claims certainly sound logical.

One opinion, however, seems to prevail over the rest. A good number of people fear that Sky Betting & Gaming may set a bad example and other major betting operators will follow suit, also ending their affiliate programs. These fears are further fueled by Ladbrokes Coral announcing its intentions to tighten its affiliate policy to avoid trouble on behalf of the stringent local regulator. Combining Sky Betting & Gaming’s example with the unfavorable climate the UK gambling industry is currently facing indeed sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Related News

CasinoNewsDaily is a media focused on providing daily news from the casino industry as well as in-depth gaming guides. Our guides cover roulette, blackjack, slots and video poker.
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on Reddit