Sky Casino only launched in 2014 as part of a major overhaul of BSkyB’s online gambling estate – it sits alongside other brands from the broadcaster, including Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, and dedicated Poker and Bingo sites.
In principle, this means if you want to play a particular type of game, you should know where to go, and Sky Casino is the destination for live dealers and bricks-and-mortar casino-style table gaming.
To be fair, the site looks great, with a subtle colour scheme and slicker interface than is typical of Sky’s online gaming portals, and that ties in with Sky Casino’s target market – it’s aimed at high-rollers, “higher value table game players” in Sky’s own words, and they’ve done a good job of making those kinds of members feel welcome.
Its main downside is the over-complexity of the interface, as with other Sky gambling sites. You never know what’s going to happen when you click a link – it might load a new page, it might pop up an entirely separate site in a new tab or window, or in the case of the help section and FAQs, it might make a pull-out column appear that’s a little too small for the amount of information it needs to display.
Clearly a lot of work went into making the website work the way it does, but in practice it can feel as though Sky would have been better just keeping it sweet and simple.
The live casino is the core of Sky Casino – remember, there’s Sky Vegas for all the usual RNG slots you’d expect to see, allowing Sky Casino to keep a close grip on what it offers. And the live dealer section isn’t a disappointment, with variations on Roulette and Blackjack, along with Baccarat and Casino Hold’em.
A subtle hallmark of Sky Casino’s graphics is the city skyline backdrop you’ll see throughout the menu screens, and this is a hint at the general style of the site as a whole; the overall experience is akin to a real-life London casino, and it’s worth noting that it’s very different to the glitzy Las Vegas stereotype, with more refinement and subtle modesty.
Sky Casino has a high-class target market, and its selection of games reflects this fact; yes there are online slots here, even without having to navigate your way over to Sky Vegas, but it’s a carefully curated selection of big-money jackpots and big-name brand tie-ins such as Marvel Avengers.
Again, this links with the Sky Casino ethos of providing a classy and sleek experience for high-rollers, and it’s all about quality, not simply an effort to offer hundreds and hundreds of cookie-cutter online slots. It shines through, too, making this a really satisfying website even just to browse without playing.
Depending on how much you’re likely to wager, the way Sky Casino’s Promotions tend to work might or might not suit you. In short, you generally need to be a high-roller to get the most back out of the site, and yet again this is a perfectly understandable aspect of the overall ethos of the site.
For example, we’ve seen Promos that didn’t guarantee a payout at all, but were based on the previous week’s playing activity – and even if you earned anything you had to claim it before 7pm on a Monday, or lose your bonus. Other offers have included daily reload bonuses, and again this implies you’re the kind of player who tops up their account every day of the week.
If the approach to promotions sounds tight-fisted, then don’t worry – there’s also the Players Club, which promises ongoing loyalty-based rewards. You’re entered into the club automatically when you join Sky Casino, and start earning Comp Points worth £10 per 1,000 points. Move up through the levels and the conversion rate improves to 900, 850 and 800 points per £10 cash.
Finally, reach Priority status and you’re really in the club, with the highest betting limits offered by Sky Casino to anyone, direct account management when you’re in need of support, and invitations to sporting events – something Sky, as a sports broadcaster, is probably better placed to offer than most online casino operators.
Overall, Sky Casino set out with one intention – to add to the BSkyB online gambling estate with a venue suitable for high-rollers, and it genuinely succeeds at doing just that. The sleeker, subtle London-style colour scheme and ‘personality’ to the site should please bricks-and-mortar gamblers and night owls looking for their first online experience, or who are in need of a new home on the web for their gambling activities.
Just remember that it’s a site that doesn’t operate in total isolation from the rest of the BSkyB franchise, and navigation is its only real flaw; if the visual appeal of Sky Casino is a huge factor for you, you’re not going to want to suffer the eyeball onslaught of having Sky Vegas suddenly pop up in a new window, but it’s likely to happen at some point nonetheless.