With Facebook’s share price at about half of what its IPO launched for, and many industry analysts negative on the prospects of that massive social network to generate any significant growth in the near future, Mark Zuckerberg is trying to turn that around. Something that Facebook has been talking about for some time now is adding a real money gambling option for Facebook users in nations where online gambling is legal. That has now become a reality for the first time, as Facebook users in the UK can now play bingo and slots for cold, hard cash.
Gamesys is a leading UK bingo and slots website operator, and now has added the new “Bingo & Slots Friendzy” option for real money play, currently up and running and available for the UK Facebook audience. Analysts have seen this coming since Facebook change their advertising policy late last year regarding gambling related product and services. And with states like Nevada and Delaware in the United States already passing individual online poker legislation packages, others like New Jersey, California and now Maryland pushing for similar legalize online poker legislation, is it long before we see Facebook real money gambling in the United States?
The move will help countries like the United States move forward with laxer regulation concerning online gaming solely because Facebook has such a good reputation as a non-gambling hangout. Online and interactive gaming giant Zynga has already climbed aboard the pay for play Internet gaming bandwagon with their Zynga Poker, which allows US players and those in other countries to purchase virtual chips, without cashing them out. And Facebook application Rocket Frog actually awards prizes to players that participate in their casino and poker games.
These companies are wisely getting out in front of what appears to be an almost guaranteed presence of online gambling for money in the near future on Facebook and other social networks. But this Gamesys/Facebook marriage is the first to clearly designate a complete gambling product available on the social networking pioneer. Geolocation will be used to restrict access to only those people physically located in the UK.
Companies like Zynga will almost certainly follow suit in countries where legalized gambling is an option online, and the more big-money companies like Facebook and Zynga that get involved, the more legitimate online poker will appear to US voting legislators and lawmakers. Facebook wisely denied that they plan on going any further than this single online pay for play gambling relationship with Gamesys, but that will probably take about 5 seconds to change if the United States federal government ever declares online interactive gaming for money legal in the United States.