Although primarily a broadcaster, Sky also provides internet facilities and since 2003 has been offering online gambling via its five core brands: Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Poker, Sky Bingo and more recently Sky Casino. The latter offers an authentic live dealer experience.
Having its own TV broadcasting partner allows the Sky gambling brands to offer services that other online casino brands cannot, such as live broadcasts of Sky Poker poker games.
Are such facilities simply a gimmick? How does this media goliath - founded in 1989 by international business magnate Rupert Murdoch - match up against its rivals?
Sky Vegas tempts you in with a free £10, plus a 200 percent match deposit bonus up to a healthy maximum of £1,000.
Naturally, you can't just take the money and run. For the free £10, there's a medium-sized list of excluded games which includes all mobile and live casino games. You cannot withdraw the £10 either – just any winnings you may happen to gain from using it.
The welcome bonus comes with 25x wagering requirements on the bonus amount, which represents good value. Only slots contribute 100 percent to the play-through requirements. Instant Win games contribute 50 percent and table games 10 percent. All live dealer games and some other games such as Caribbean Stud Poker and Poker Keno are excluded.
Sky Casino has a different welcome promotion - £20 free and a 100 percent match deposit bonus up to £500. The £20 free can be withdrawn but has a x50 play-through, whilst the welcome bonus has a 20x wagering requirement on the bonus + deposit. Slots count 100 percent towards wagering requirements, table and card games 20 percent and video poker five percent.
Sky's VIP 'Players Club' is nothing to shout about - it's a glorified comp points scheme. But Sky's welcome bonuses - along with their regular 'cash drops' and free bet offers - make them the ideal home for any gambler.
|Type||Amount (%)||Matched Amount|
|First Deposit||200%||£1000||Claim Now|
|First Deposit||100%||£500||Claim Now|
|First Deposit||200%||€1000||Claim Now|
|First Deposit||100%||€500||Claim Now|
|First Deposit||200%||$500||Claim Now|
|First Deposit||100%||$500||Claim Now|
|No Deposit||-||£20||Claim Now|
|No Deposit||-||€20||Claim Now|
|No Deposit||50%||€200||Claim Now|
|No Deposit||-||$20||Claim Now|
Sky Vegas has over 250 games, all spread across the standard casino varieties. The mobile version of the casino has a version of blackjack and roulette, and several of the most popular online slots. Sky Casino has live versions of roulette, blackjack, baccarat and casino hold'em, as well as software versions of the same games and a couple of others. There are also eight of the most popular online slots including Gladiator and Iron Man 2. Sky Casino is not available via mobile.
Sky is second only to Casino Room in the design stakes - it's gorgeous. Sky Vegas boasts a rich red and burgundy theme, whilst Sky Casino is painted ocean blue. The menus are crisp, and the overall navigation is very intuititive.
Sky Casino's games are all powered by the industry-leading gambling software brand Playtech. Sky Vegas has games from a number of sources, notably NetEnt, Electracade, Cryptologic, IGT, WMS, OpenBet, GTECH G2 and Barcrest Games.
Available Software: Barcrest, Blueprint Gaming, Core Gaming, CryptoLogic, Electrade, IGT / Wagerworks, NetEnt, OpenBet, Playtech, WMS.
Sky has a faultless track record when it comes to payments - as you'd expect from a major brand.
Credit/debit card transactions are very speedy - they can done in as little as a few hours during week days. Paypal transactions usually take a day. It's a shame Sky no longer supports Skrill and Neteller as deposit options.
Note: the table below contains averages for the given payment services and does not factor in limits on the casino's side. Remember to check the casino's website for specific time/cash limits.
|Payment Method||Name||Depositing||Withdrawing||Withdraw Time|
|Credit Card||£10 - £50000||£10 - £100000||1 - 7 days|
|Debit Card||£10 - £50000||£10 - £100000||1 - 7 days|
|Laser||£10 - £50000||£10 - £100000||1 - 7 days|
|PayPal||£5 - £50000||£10 - £100000||1 - 7 days|
Why have one casino when you can have two for twice the price? It does seem a little odd that Sky have gone for two very similar casino brands, although it's largely apparent that Sky Casino is aimed at more 'upmarket' clientèle, with the emphasis on live dealers and casino games, and with just a handful of slots thrown in for good measure.
If Sky Casino is a classy coastal resort, then Sky Vegas is very much a traditional seaside town with amusements and fish & chip shops. The look of the site is less fashionable than its posher cousin, although it's able to boast much more variety and a lot more options. Sky Vegas is also quick to point live casino fans towards Sky Casino, but that gesture is not reciprocated.
Whichever – if either – site you choose is up to you, but there is always the 'free' money on offer to play with. We say take the plunge and see if the 'Sky' really is the limit. If you're from the UK, it's a no-brainer.Sounds good, sign me up!
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