Facebook users in the U.K. can play real-money bingo and slots through new app
By Aaron Todd
People under the age of 18 will be blocked from playing, as will users from outside the U.K.
The application is run by Gamesys, which owns and operates online gambling site Jackpotjoy, and also operates sites such as Sun Bingo and Caesars Casino. The Jackpotjoy branded Friendzy app is available only through Facebook's U.K. App Centre. The Friendzy app offers a 90-ball bingo game and slots games.
"We've reinvented our exclusive bingo and slots games to appeal to the U.K. Facebook community," said Michael Saunders, managing director for Jackpotjoy. "This marks an exciting turning point for the industry and a milestone for the Gamesys business."
"Gambling in the U.K. is very popular and well regulated in the U.K.," Facebook's head of gaming for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Julien Codorniou told the Financial Times.
The BBC reports a Facebook official would not confirm whether the company is getting its standard 30 percent cut of revenues made from the application.
Many Facebook watchers have been expecting the move for some time. While social gaming companies like Zynga have built their entire business model through Facebook, online gambling companies have recently entered the space, hoping to convert casual social gamers into real-money gamblers. Some, like Gamesys have built their own platforms. Others have bought out successful social gaming sites. IGT, for instance, acquired DoubleDown Interactive earlier this year for $500 million.
With a price tag that high, it's clear that current real-money gambling operators believe there is a future in real-money gambling on Facebook. The question that remains, however, is who is going to reap in the profits.