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Sky Bet figures soar as company revels in Cheltenham Festival bonanza

Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint presents the trophies for this year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle
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Sky Betting and Gaming enjoyed their busiest Cheltenham Festival yet this month and increased their customer base to two million in the first half of the financial year, according to the company's latest results.

Chief executive Richard Flint said the company had extended their lead as the UK's most popular online gambling brand.

The figures for the six months to December 28 revealed group revenue increased by 47 per cent to £339 million with staking growth of 29 per cent and favourable sports results helping Sky Bet's revenue to increase 58 per cent to £210m.

Sky Gaming's revenue was up 31 per cent to £117m, group Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) rose 92 per cent to £118m and total customers increased 19 per cent to two million.

Flint said: "We have just enjoyed our busiest-ever Cheltenham, with bet volumes peaking at just over 300 bets per second, so with strong momentum in the first half of the year, we will maintain our focus on investment in talent and technology, delivering innovative and quality products and offers to our customers, leaving us confident that we can deliver further growth."

Sky Bet's chief executive has been a vocal proponent of the gambling industry doing more to tackle problem gambling and he outlined a four-point plan to harness technology and customer data to try to reduce harm at this year's Ice show in London.

He said: “It was particularly pleasing to launch a fully integrated safer gambling campaign during the period, and we continue to increase our investment in research, data analysis and capability to provide a safe and responsible gambling environment for our customers."

Flint added: "We support a mandatory research levy, and increased regulation from the Gambling Commission to protect customers that are at risk.

"We also extended our headline sponsorship of the English Football League for an additional five years, taking it through to the 2023-24 season, with responsible gambling at the heart of the agreement."

The firm's employee base also continues to grow with headcount up by 230, mainly at its Yorkshire base.

Flint said: "We are proud of our record of job creation and investment in Yorkshire, with an additional 230 jobs created in the period, as well as our contribution to regional and national taxation. A report by WPI Economics estimates that we contributed over £300m gross value added to the Yorkshire economy in 2016-17, and we plan to continue investing in the region."

Sky Bet also went live with their second international site during the period with skybet.de launching to German sports betting customers.

Flint said: "This business aims to provide the same quality of user experience, range of bets and simplicity to German customers that our UK and Italian customers have come to expect from us."

There has been speculation that Sky Bet's majority owners, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, is planning a stock market flotation of the company which could value the business at between £2.5-3 billion.


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We have just enjoyed our busiest ever Cheltenham, with bet volumes peaking at just over 300 bets per second
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