Interview with Giovanna D'Esposito, Managing Director Sky Bet Italia
Could you introduce your company (core business, services, number of employees, turnover, location
Sky Betting & Gaming is a British-based online gambling company formed in 2002. Headquartered in Leeds we employ around 850 people and are now the fourth largest UK online gambling operator. We own 5 core brands: Sky Bet, Sky Vegas, Sky Poker, Sky Bingo andSky Casino. The group also owns an online betting odds comparison site, Oddschecker. In March 2015 Sky plc sold a majority stake in the company to CVC Capital Partners who decided to extend the business internationally. Sky plc still holds a minority share. Italy is the first non-UK country for Sky B&G as its the biggest regulated gambling market in EU. Our headquarters are in Leeds, UK. We recently opened a new office in Sheffield, where some of our Technical staff is based. This is part of a large recruiting drive to sustain the growth of our business, with most of our vacancies being in the technical / digital space. The Technical team supporting Italy is actually based in Sheffield.
Why did you decide to start your business in Italy?
Italy is the second biggest regulated gambling market in Europe after the UK, with solid regulatory foundations. Having grown consistently in our UK core market, thanks also to our technical strengths and our close partnership with Sky and Sky Sports, we believe now is the right time to invest strategically in the next big opportunity.
While you were getting set up in Italy, what kind and quality of support did you receive?
During the set up of our operations in Italy, we relied on specialist advisory services from industry experts. More specifically, we sought advice on gambling regulations, compliance, fiscal regime. In addition to this, we relied on the personal network and know-how of our local employees
How do you judge your relationship with the public institutions in Italy, including Invitalia?
We have had so far very positive relationship with the two main public institutions that we have dealt with, namely Invitalia and AAMS. Invitalia have been very supportive and amicable trying to help us solve a range of operational and administrative requirements from the onset.
What are the advantages or the new opportunities that the Italian market can offer to your business in the coming years?
Italy is a very challenging market for us due to the competitiveness of existing operators in our sector, both domestic and international. However we believe that there are good opportunities for a brand like Sky Bet, which will focus on excellence of customer experience and above all the trustworthiness of a reliable and responsible approach. Well invest in technology, above all mobile, and in local talent. These are our two biggest assets in addition to the strength of our international brand.
Do you think you will make new investments?
The Sky Betting and Gaming group is consistently outperforming the main market that it currently operates in (UK). We believe that it is time to invest our core assets in new territories, of which Italy is the first and where, depending on the results obtained , the company is planning to hire in Italy and thus have a positive job impact.