Real Money Gambling a Reality for Some Facebook Users
Times, they are changing! After years of free games and play-chip wagering apps on Facebook, the site has finally launched its very first real-money gambling application. It is called Bingo Friendzy and is currently available to UK members only, but just may be the first stepping stone to pave the way into an array of real money gaming opportunities from the social networking site.
Bingo Friendzy is a wagering application strictly provided for residents of the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact, residents of any other country are not even able to access the program. Developed by Gamesys, headquartered in London, this is the first time Facebook members have been able to use real money, as opposed to the typical faux, in-game currency Facebook apps are so well known for.
Many of you gamers out there may already be familiar with the creator of Bingo Friendzy. Gamesys is the same company that brought us the popular Facebook casino applications Jackpot Joy and Jackpot City. Facebook actually has nothing to do with the creation of Bingo Friendzy, but is merely a catalyst for the provision of the new gambling app.
Considering that online gambling is legal in the UK, as well as many other regions of the world, it’s kind of surprising that it’s taken Facebook this long to admit a real-money wagering application of any kind on its servers. The Chief Executive of the Remote Gambling Association, Clive Hawkswood, shed some light on the subject in an interview with Financial Times.
“Bingo is at the softer end of the gambling spectrum and online bingo often has chat forums alongside, so it’s an obvious match for Facebook,” Hawkswood commented. “A lot of people have said why haven’t they done it before because there’s a difficulty in monetizing what they have – this is one way of bringing in revenues.”
The head of gaming operations for Facebook across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Julien Codorniou, spoke on behalf of the social network in regards to the same question, stating, “gambling is very popular and well regulated in the UK.” Codorniou went on to say that, “for millions of bingo users it’s already a social experience,” and that, “it makes sense to offer that as well.”
One notable problem with Facebook in general is that, although it restricts users from holding an account unless they are 13 or older (users of Bingo Friendzy must be 18+), there is no verification process involved. There are currently members of Facebook who are below even the 13 year age limit; chances are you know someone under 13 whose parents gave them permission to sign up with a false birthdate. However, according to TechCrunch, the Bingo Friendzy app will integrate a strict identity verification process to ensure users are not only 18 or older, but do in fact reside within the orders of the United Kingdom.
Industry experts are already speculating that the integration of a real money wagering application on Facebook could be the very first of many real money gambling apps to come. Zynga, Facebook’s supremely popular play-money poker app, which attracts an average of 100,000+ players per day, is already in negotiations with online poker software developers to launch its own real money poker platform, apart from Facebook. It may not be too long before players of the Facebook Zynga Poker app are also given the option to play for real money.