Facebook makes gambling move
Facebook has launched its first application which will allow adult customers to stake real money. Announcing its immediate launch, Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s head of gaming for the EMEA region confirmed that the bingo app, named Bingo Friendzy, will only be offered to users in the UK who are 18-years or older. He said that gambling is well regulated in the UK explaining that bingo was a natural fit for Facebook due to its position on the gambling spectrum as being something of a social experience for players. The Bingo Friendzy app has been developed as a joint venture with UK online gambling operator Gamesys. Facebook confirmed that their intention was to expand the gaming choice to include blackjack, roulette and slots and that it was in discussions with other gambling companies on various projects.
The choice of both game style and location for Facebook’s long anticipated entry into the world of online gambling is significant. Bingo is a soft gaming experience with a strong social connection and the UK represents a popular and well-regulated jurisdiction. The importance of keeping well away from any grey markets is paramount and whilst the US represents Facebook’s most profitable territory the ambiguous status of the law and discrepancies between states represents something of a minefield for the brand. The attraction of using gambling as a method of boosting revenues has not been lost on the market with Zynga intending to launch real money casino games next year. The relationship between social gaming and online gambling will be one of the hottest topics being debated at October’s EiG in Fira Barcelona (16th –18th October). EiG has partnered with social and mobile analytics firm Kontagent to undertake an extensive research project whose findings will be presented and discussed for the first time at EiG.