Rumours are flying all around at the moment, speculating on the social networking giant, Facebook, and their plans to add real money gambling applications to the site. One report suggested that Facebook aim to introduce this in the first part of 2012 and will initially hand out eight licenses. 888 are rumoured to be one of the companies to receive one. Of course, this new platform would only be available to regulated markets, such as the United Kingdom.
So, is this a good move for the company? There are already many ways to get involved with online gaming on Facebook, which does not involve betting real money. Zynga Poker is one example of this. The game itself is a good way for individuals to enjoy a game of poker, dealing only with virtual money and without the worry of losing any in the real world. This means that the likes of teenagers are getting involved, learning the game and having fun. But if this does go ahead, will companies such as this need to up their game?
Another question to take into account is, how would it work with real money gambling? Those underage can easily access the applications. How will security be enforced if gambling was really introduced? Facebook would have to rely on the honesty of players when entering personal details. Surely then anyone could access the real money games? It is quite easy to lie on a Facebook profile.
Another consideration for this crossover would be that of payment. How would payments be made? Would operators have to use the Facebook Credits system? At the moment, Facebook takes a nice 30% cut of the revenue earned through these, so it is likely they would enforce this even with these apps.
In recent months, Facebook has relaxed in its promotion of gambling and now allows advertisment on the site. It does therefore seem likely that the next step for them would be to introduce the real money apps. It is thought that the company have been held talks with approximately twenty online gaming experts, consultants and social gaming entrepreneurs, but nothing has been officially announced. The only comment made on the matter was from a Facebook spokesperson, who said, “we’re always in discussions with companies about lots of different ideas, but we don’t comment on future plans or speculation.”
Will this be the right move for Facebook? There are a lot of considerations and unanswered questions to take into account. But we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Let us know in the comments section below.