Facebook Enters World of Real Money Gambling

Facebook Enters World of Real Money Gambling

Posted on 08/08/12 - by Theodor Mavrodis News

Facebook has beaten Zynga to the punch as the first social media giant to launch a real-money gambling app.

Launched this week, Facebook's new Bingo & Slots Friendzy app lets those 18 and over play bingo and slot games for real cash prizes.

Available only to players in the UK, Bingo & Slots Friendzy was developed in conjunction with London-based online gambling operator Gamesys.

Gamesys handled all the development work for the app although Facebook is insisting that it’s not a “partnership” per se.

"Real-Money Gaming Popular and Well Regulated"

A Facebook spokeswoman had the following to say in an interview about the launch:

"Real-money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK, and we are allowing a partner to offer their games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner.”

Gamesys is primarily known for its online bingo games. It operates Sun Bingo and Heart Bingo as well as one of the largest bingo-and-slots websites Jackpotjoy.com.

Both companies are promising strict controls for restricting access to the app to those 18 years of age and older.

Gamesys also promisies that self-help tools would be included to target at-risk gamblers such as the ability to set spending limits.

Lure of Additional Revenue Streams

The lure of additional revenue streams has proven tempting for both Facebook and Zynga as far as entering the world of online gambling -- and especially now that both companies are public and shareholders are clamoring for more revenues to boost sagging stock prices.

Facebook’s approach of working with an established online gaming operator in regulated markets such as the UK is one that Zynga itself will likely follow, as neither company has any experience in the world of online gambling.

That will speed up both companies' efforts to start booking revenues related to online gambling, but it will also come at a cost.

While figures weren’t released, many expect that Facebook is charging Gamesys more than the typical 30% commissions on apps that use the Facebook platform.