Facebook to Trial Real Money Online Gambling in the UK

Facebook to Trial Real Money Online Gambling in the UK

Facebook is set to dip its toe into the lucrative waters of a buoyant UK online gambling market with the introduction of real cash casino games.
Amid stiff opposition from anti-gambling groups who claim that children would become vulnerable to the easy availability of real cash gambling, the social network is pressing ahead with plans to use the UK as a test bed for online casino games. Facebook already has a collection of popular games that allow players to play for free with “virtual credits” in place of real money, including slots, poker, bingo and roulette. The social network is looking at the feasibility of converting these games to “real money” versions and allowing UK players to play them.

What makes this proposal even more controversial is that there are over three million users between the ages of 13 and 17 in the UK. There is a further estimated one million users that are under the age of 13 but who have created accounts by simply lying about their true age.

Critics of the move expressed their fears that these proposals may create a whole generation of online gamers who see gambling as safe and just for fun without any conception of the potential problems that can accompany it. With so many Facebook account holders under the age of 18, there are fears that not enough will be done to prevent underage gamblers accessing and playing the real money games.

MP Louise Ellman is very concerned about the planned move and the potential impact it could have on children as well as certain vulnerable groups. She believes that by introducing gambling, Facebook will be using cynical means to find new, untapped markets for the gaming industry while giving gambling an acceptable face. She pointed out that children spend many hours using Facebook and their parents need to know that it is completely safe for their children to access.

Facebook is valued at around £64billion and has plans for a flotation on the stock market next year. They plan to put eight licences on the table for online gaming companies to provide gambling applications available to British players. The social network is reported to have been in talks with around twenty consultants, operators and senior experts on gaming including top executives from 888, Gamesys and Pokerstars.

So far, Facebook has not denied it has been negotiating with members of the gambling industry. According to a spokesman, they are constantly in discussions with a number of companies concerning many different ideas, but they do not comment on their future plans or any speculation from outside the company.

Facebook to Trial Real Money Online Gambling in the UK