social networks

Facebook to launch virtual bingo in UK

Warwick Ashford

Facebook is to launch a virtual bingo game in the UK that offers cash prizes.

Developed by online gambling operator Gamesys, the Bingo Friendzy app enables UK users aged 18 and over to stake real money and play games for cash prizes.

But the game will not be regulated by the UK gambling commission because Gamesys is based in Gibraltar, according to the Guardian.

However, the government has said it plans to make any company offering gambling services in the UK comply with the country's regulatory regime, the paper said.

Gamesys said in a press release that users would have access to self-help tools to reduce the risk of gambling addiction, including the ability to set spending limits, and Facebook insisted its controls will prevent anyone aged under 18 from gambling.

When a user signs up to Bingo Friendzy, they will have to confirm their date of birth, enter bank account details, and make a deposit of between £10 and £500.

"Real-money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK, and we are allowing a partner to offer its games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner," said Facebook in a statement.

The social network said it had no immediate plans to expand the venture to other markets, but the site could partner with other companies to launch new games in the UK.

Facebook derives a growing proportion of its worldwide revenues from games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars, which generated £123m of Facebook's £1.2bn revenues for the second quarter of 2012.

The social network typically takes a 30% cut of transactions on its network, but would not confirm if that was the case with Bingo Friendzy, according to the BBC.

Licensed UK gambling is forecast to reach £10.bn in 2012, according to market intelligence firm H2 Gambling Capital.


Image: Thinkstock


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