Facebook is venturing into the world of online gambling with the release of their first gaming app that allows players to wager real money on the outcome of the game. The game, developed by London-based studio Gamesys, is called Bingo Friendzy and is currently limited to player in the UK that are 18 years of age or older.
Facebook’s head of gaming for Europe Julien Codorniou said that real money gambling is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK which is why they are allowing a partner to host the game in a safe and controlled manner. Bingo is described as a social experience in the country therefore it only makes sense to offer it on the social network as well, Codorniou said.
Zuckerberg and company plan to use age-restricting technology to prevent under-age players and “vulnerable” people from having access to the app, although specifics of how they plan to do that weren’t outlined. It’s also unclear how much Facebook is expected to earn from Gamesys. The social network reportedly draws about 30 percent of earnings from other types of transactions.
UK Facebook users can also look forward to other social gambling applications in the near future, including online slot machine games and a Zynga-powered poker game, both of which are based on real money.
Online gambling is still a controversial issue in the US so we don’t expect to see a similar launch there or in other parts of the world anytime soon.