Sky Betting axes social casino; Favourit gets new CEO; Puntaa’s honor system

sky-hollywood-slots-puntaa-favouritUK online gambling operator Sky Betting & Gaming has shuttered its fledgling social casino division just eight months after the launch of its first product.

In January, Sky Betting & Gaming announced it had teamed with San Francisco developer OpenWager on a new social casino app, Sky Hollywood Slots. Sky Betting & Gaming’s head of social games Bruce Bale said the plan was to “engage with new customers,” while OpenWager CEO John Cahill said Sky Betting & Gaming would enjoy “a proven social-mobile stream of revenue.”

Fast forward eight months and Bale is gone after Sky Betting & Gaming decided to axe the entire social casino division. A Sky Betting & Gaming spokesman told iGaming Business that the plug was pulled after an internal review determined that social games did not fit with the company’s core offering.

The company’s other social products included the Sky Sports Soccer Quiz app, which offered trivia challenges for players in both solo and tournament form. It and the company’s other social products are expected to wind down over the next few weeks.

Australian social sports betting operator Favourit aren’t ready to throw in the towel, but they do have a new CEO. Gary Harris, who previously served as IT director and board member of Sportingbet Australia, has assumed the CEO mantle from Favourit co-founder Toby Simmons, who is shifting to commercial director to steer Favourit’s international marketing strategy and biz-dev opportunities.

Harris credited Simmons for building a “global and scalable platform that in my view shows tremendous promise.” Favourit officially launched its product in Europe last November and Harris said it is “already achieving substantial growth and impressive operating metrics.” The company is also pursuing a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. Harris

Favourit has some down under competition thanks to a new social sports betting app from a pair of Brisbane brothers. Puntaa is the brainchild of brothers Damon and Jordan Oudejeans who decided corporate online bookies had sucked the social aspect out of gambling.

Puntaa allows players to set up the terms of a bet, including wager and odds, then invite a friend to compete. Users upload money via an eWallet on the platform, but payment of winnings is done via the honor system, i.e. the loser has to acknowledge that he or she lost before the cash is transferred to the winner.

Damon Oudejeans says he doesn’t anticipate any problems with welchers, telling that “it’s with friends, so you’re going to honor your bet.” The founders say their goal is to change the “stigma hanging around gambling … Unlike with bookies that need people to lose, the result of the bet doesn’t concern us.”

The app is currently in beta testing with an official launch expected in the next month or thereabouts. Oudejeans says Puntaa has obtained the necessary online bookmaker and betting exchange licenses.