In the sports betting world, few developments have proven so revolutionary as the rise of mobile apps. The internet might already have made it possible to bet from our own homes, rather than at a physical store… but mobile apps have allowed us to bet anywhere, at any time.
Nowadays, we’re seeing fresh sportsbooks focusing solely on apps, and other preexisting bookies opening entire new brands on mobile. In this SBK review, we’ll look at an extremely exciting example of the latter.
SBK is a brand-new sportsbook app, released in early August, and created by established betting exchange Smarkets. Specifically it’s a ‘true-price’ app, and we’ll explain exactly what that means – along with a host of other details about this fascinating proposition – starting right now!
18+. UK+IRE only. T&Cs apply.
New Exciting Betting App
In-Play Betting & Cash Out
SBK Sign Up Offer
Having a high quality welcome offer is naturally important for every brand, but for a brand new one like SBK it’s absolutely vital. In this case, we find a deal which is somewhat unusual, but which should fulfil a welcome offer’s main purpose; to attract as many new customers as possible!
The SBK new customer offer is called ‘Refer a Friend’. It’s essentially a classic referral deal, in which you persuade someone you know to register on SBK, and in return you’re both given rewards. In this case, those rewards are a tidy £10 risk free bonus for each of you.
Here are the main terms and conditions for the offer:
- Friend must enter referral code during signup process
- Both accounts must be fully verified (including ID and proof of address)
- Friend must make initial deposit using card or bank transfer
- Deposits using PayPall, Skrill, Neteller etc. are ineligible
- Both of you must have bet through £20 on your accounts before claiming bonus
- If conditions are met, a £10 bonus will be given to each account
- Maximum of 50 bonuses can be earned per account
- Bonus will automatically refund previous losses on account
Referral deals might be common in general with mobile apps, but they’re quite unusual in sportsbook promotions. Regardless, this is actually a very solid deal. The qualifying criteria are fair, and the lack of minimum odds on those wagers is helpful. The £10 bonus itself effectively makes half of that qualifying £20 total ‘risk-free’ – even if you lose, you’ll still get the money back.
SBK Ongoing Promotions
The opening SBK offer might be unusual, but overall it creates a very good first impression of the brand. Unfortunately this momentum isn’t continued with the ongoing SBK promotions, mostly because… well, there aren’t any!
That’s right: the welcome offer is currently the only one available. SBK doesn’t even have standard, basic promotions like accumulator insurance for football, or extra places on horse racing.
While we’re well aware that it’s very early days for this brand, this is still a serious oversight. Clearly they’re focusing on getting new customers in right now… but that’s only half the battle. Actually retaining those customers, and getting them to keep coming back, is at least as important, and ongoing promotions play a sizable part in that.
This isn’t a ‘dealbreaker’, necessarily. A sportsbook can offer enough other positives to outweigh even a negative as big as this. It is, however, a massive eyebrow-raiser.
Given that it’s a completely new brand, you’re perfectly entitled to ask, ‘Is SBK legit?’ Well, there’s basically no information whatsoever on the SBK app about their security features, aside from the presence of two-factor authentication.
Any doubts, though, can immediately be put to rest by their connection with the preexisting Smarkets. This bookie both enjoys a good reputation, and has solid security features which carry over to SBK. These include the aforementioned 2FA, plus STL and SSL encryption, and the fact that all customer funds are held in dedicated, ring-fenced accounts.
Finally, SBK also hold full licenses with both the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, both of whom ensure best practices.
SBK Football Features
Whether you’re a completely new bookie, or you’ve been around forever, your football features always need to be up to scratch. Promotions might be more eye-catching, but football is the sport which most people are actually going to be betting on.
Football has its own dedicated section on SBK. This is split neatly into four different areas: Popular, Live, Today and Competitions. Popular lists the biggest upcoming games, Live shows you in-play opportunities, Today displays the most imminent fixtures, and Competitions is where you’ll generally browse between markets. The latter section also contains outright bets: Ballon d‘Or winner, Premier League top scorer, and so on.
These divisions are well thought-out, and make browsing the app effortless. The whole thing simply feels intuitive, requiring no time whatsoever to get the hang of. Everything is displayed very clearly within each section too, thanks to a brilliantly sleek and modern design. In a nice touch, you can also change the size of how markets are displayed – making them bigger or smaller – with the touch of a button.
In-play has become a key part of modern football betting, and we’re pleased to say this works well here. It’s available on games in competitions all around the world, odds update frequently, and the bet placement and SBK cash out features – while not the quickest – certainly aren’t slow either. We’d prefer a few more stats to inform wagers, above the basics like possession and shots on goal, but in-play is executed well overall.
If live streaming was in place, this would basically be a perfect football section. As it is, though, there’s still plenty here to facilitate easy, fun football betting for a long time to come.
Other Betting Markets
Often a weak spot with new bookies, SBK’s connection with Smarkets has surely served it well here. The list of other betting markets isn’t exhaustive, by any means, but most of the main bases are still covered.
Crucially this includes horse racing, for which there is a decent range of supported races. Fans of American football, cricket, rugby, tennis and more are also ably catered for. There are a couple of major absences, most notably golf (which is actually quite baffling, seeing as it’s a staple with the vast majority of bookies), but overall this is a solid selection of betting markets.
Mobile Betting Options & App
We’d normally investigate whether or not a brand even had mobile apps here. Given that SBK is exclusively available as a mobile app… there’s not really much point in this case! We can confirm, though, that there is both an iOS and SBK Android app available.
The actual quality of those apps could hardly be higher. Loading times are extremely short, the whole thing looks fantastic, and – as mentioned earlier – the layout is absolutely brilliant. Between the intuitive division of markets, and the bottom menu which allows you to flit swiftly between Home, Browse, Funds, Open Bets and Account, it takes no time at all to get the hang of the navigation.
SBK have also done a couple of very interesting things with their app to separate it from the competition, which we haven’t touched on yet.
First is the way odds are calculated. Smarkets is a betting exchange, rather than a sportsbook, and SBK actually draws odds directly from its sister site. This means that instead of setting the odds themselves, like most bookies, SBK actually offer ‘true-prices’ decided by the market. Because they take a small commission, rather than a ‘vig’ on the odds, this means better prices for the bettor. Go to a specific match, and SBK will actually tell you what percentage of its odds beat Bet365’s for that same market.
Second is the social side. Rather than being a straight-up betting platform, SBK clearly intend for the app to be a sportsbook/social media hybrid! Primarily this is done through ‘Tips’ – available on every market – which are recommendations that users can write. Other users can then react to those tips, with the top ones (those which receive the best feedback) rising to the top. This feature hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet, but it’s a great idea, and could be a massive calling card when SBK’s user numbers increase.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the SBK mobile app is already one of the best on the market. It’s not just innovative and creative, but is actually executed brilliantly too.
Opening an Account
Opening an account with SBK takes slightly longer than it does elsewhere. The process isn’t complicated, by any means. But the fact that you must enter every single piece of information on a different screen is mildly annoying.
You begin by entering your email address on the first screen, then creating a password. Next you enter your name, then your date of birth, then your country and preferred currency, each time going to a new page. Next you enter the promo code. If you want to use the SBK welcome offer, be sure to enter your friend’s referral code here!
Once you’ve done that, you give your address, create a user name, and set a few preferences, such as the odds format and even the physical size at which markets are displayed on your screen.
Finally you’ll be asked to allow location tracking and notifications (you don’t need to do either), then – at last – you’re done! With your account now created, you’re free to make a deposit if you wish, and pass your new referral code on to a friend.
Considering it’s absolutely brand new, SBK actually provides a top-notch range of payment options.
There are nine in total, ranging from credit card and bank transfer, to PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and Trustly. There are no processing fees for deposits, and the minimum deposit for all methods except PayPal and Trustly is £10. For those latter two it’s £20 and £40 respectively.
All the same methods are available when making an SBK withdrawal, with the minimum amount being £10 except for bank transfer and Trustly, for which it’s £20 and £40. Bank transfers also incur a hefty £10 fee, and take 5-10 days to process, instead of the standard 1-6 days.
Yet another positive which carries over from being associated with an established brand is the SBK customer service. It’s far superior to what you’d find at most new bookies.
The range of SBK contact options is almost perfect. You can get in touch via email, Twitter (on which they’re very active), and phone. While live chat is the only notable absence here, phone support is available from 09:00 – 00:00, ensuring that help is always at hand when you’ll likely need it.
The indirect help – called the SBK Help Centre – is also highly respectable. It’s arranged into neat sections, and the search function works well. It’s not the most exhaustive we’ve seen, in terms of volume, but the major topics are covered well.
SBK Company Details
Given that SBK only launched in early August 2019, they obviously haven’t got much of a track record yet. We do know that they’re based in Malta (surprise, surprise), and that they’re planning to launch in the USA soon, but that’s about it.
Far more instructive is the track record of their parent company, Smarkets. Also based in Malta, this betting exchange has enjoyed increasing success since being founded in 2008. It has a reputation for transparency and innovation, and the fact that it’s backed by a consortium of private investors means its funding won’t dry up any time soon!
SBK Bottom Line
By only offering their services as a mobile app, SBK have taken something of a gamble. If having a desktop option is a dealbreaker for you, then you automatically won’t be interested in either this SBK review or the product itself.
If you are prepared to go entirely mobile with your betting, though, this is an amazing option. The appearance and arrangement of the layout is flawless, the app is quick and stable, and the range of betting markets is respectable. The range of both customer support and payment options rivals that of much bigger brands, and the only real drawback is the lack of ongoing promotions.
Brand new sportsbooks aren’t supposed to be this polished. SBK might be relatively untested, but it really is ready to be used straight away. We highly recommend that you do just that now, and taking advantage of the enticing ‘Refer a Friend’ welcome offer is a great way to do so.
18+. UK+IRE only. T&Cs apply.