Get ready for gambling on Facebook. The social networking giant has approved a gaming app that lets players use actual money.
Called Bingo and Slots Friendzy, the new game can only be used by players over 18, and only in the United Kingdom. Users will have to verify their identity, their age and their location. In addition, Facebook will not show any Bingo and Slots Friendzy-related activity in the timelines of members under 18.
Players will need a credit card. Although the game involves real money gambling and requires adult players, the game screen design contains fuzzy characters and could easily be mistaken for a child’s game.
Other Facebook games, including ones involving gambling, use Facebook Credits. Facebook Credits are a virtual currency that users can purchase with a credit card, PayPal, mobile phone or other payment methods, and the Credits can be used to buy virtual goods in any Facebook games or apps that accept payment.
The social networker has not revealed the financial arrangement it has with the game maker, Gamesys, whose other games include the Facebook games Sun Bingo and Heart Bingo. Gamesys is one of the largest providers of online gambling in the U.K.
‘Popular and Well-Regulated’
Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s head of gambling for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told The Financial Times that, since gaming with real money “is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK,” the company is simply allowing a partner to offer games on the platform.
He added that online gambling in the UK is “already a social experience,” and thus it “makes sense to offer that as well.”
There are reports that other real-money gambling games are soon coming to Facebook. Slot machine games are expected to debut within weeks, and Zynga -- of Farmville and CityVille fame -- has announced it will unveil real-money versions of its Bingo and poker games sometime in 2013. It is expected that those real-money games will be restricted to use in the U.K. and possibly other countries, but not the U.S., where such games are not legally allowed.