AtTheRaces a Boon for BSkyB
By philip
Nick Rust, the managing director of BSkyB’s betting division, SkyBet, has reported that business is in robust health, thanks in no small part to the new ‘uncluttered’ AtTheRaces. Annual results published last Wednesday showed that SkyBet’s turnover had rocketed by 145% for the year ended June 30th, despite the two months when racing was off the air.

In an interview with The Racing Post this week, Rust said: “In line with other bookmakers, our telephone and internet betting turnover fell by about 20 per cent in that dark spell, though remarkably we were only ten per cent down on horserace betting through interactive television.

'All that business has returned, and more. It shows there's been a welcome for the iTV betting service thatruns alongside ATR, which is not as convoluted as the old system. The levels of turnover are showing comfortably ahead, even though the tracks are now split into two channels.'

While SkyBet does not provide a breakdown of profits, it understood that ATR is, according to The Racing Post, is currently surpassing that which “the previous service produced for all its betting partners put together”.

Rust said: 'Growth has been across the board, and it's an indication of our progress that on Saturday, iTV turnover through ATR reached six figures, even though the only live non-terrestrial racing until the evening was on Racing UK. There has been good growth in our telephone and internet business, which I put down to several reasons - the fact we will guarantee a price to reasonable stakes for 15 minutes after we open the phones, a consistent advertising presence in the Racing Post, and our programme of sponsorship.

'Growth in iTV business is coming from a different area, though. It's mainly through football and other sports, particularly where we offer in-running betting, such as our ball-by-ball markets on cricket.'

Rust hinted that BSkyB may launch its own poker channel within the next 12 months.

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