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Online gambling has taken a significant step on Tuesday as social media giant Facebook is reportedly set to offer real money gambling, albeit only in the UK for the moment.
Punters in the UK aged 18 or older will be offered the opportunity to play bingo for cash prizes. Online slot games are set to be added in the next few weeks as well, a report in the Financial Mail claims.
Commenting on the development, Facebook Head of Gaming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Julien Codorniou told the Financial Times that: “Gambling is very popular and well regulated in the UK … for millions of bingo users it’s already a social experience (so) it makes sense (for us) to offer that as well.”
Facebook will launch the games through an app called Bingo Frenzy, which is a joint venture between Facebook and Gamesys, a large UK online operator of casino games.
“We are a distribution platform for Gamesys – they have the games and we bring the audience,” said Codorniou.
Facebook is not alone in terms of social media companies looking to offer real money betting either, as fellow social media giant Zynga is looking to launch real money versions of its popular free casino games next year.
Gambling trade body the Remote Gaming Association also commented on the situation with RGA CEO Clive Hawkswood saying: “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. 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.”