Facebook gets into gambling in the U.K.

A Facebook login page is shown. The social network is considering increasing users' ability to edit their posts.
(Stace Maude / Associated Press)

When it comes to the U.K., most people are getting into the Olympic Games, but not Facebook. It’s getting into a different type of gaming in the U.K.-- gambling to be exact.

The 955 million-member social network began allowing users in the U.K. to play a new bingo game using real money.

The game, called Bingo & Slots Friendzy, lets users 18 and older ditch Facebook Credits and play with their real money while Facebook takes in 30% of the money collected by the app, as it does with all other apps.


“Gambling is very popular and well regulated in the U.K. ... for millions of bingo users it’s already a social experience [so] it makes sense [for us] to offer that as well,” said Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s head of gaming for Europe, Middle East and Africa, according to the Financial Times.

The decision to allow this type of gaming in the U.K., where gambling is more accepted than in the U.S., is seen as a test by Facebook to determine if it may want to bring the practice stateside.

“Facebook is a place that allows people to connect and share,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Real money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the U.K. and we are allowing a partner to offer their games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner.”

Business Insider says, quoting an “industry insider,” online gambling would turn Facebook into a $100 billion-revenue company. That number seems a bit high, but Facebook likely would stand to see its revenue grow drastically.

Currently, its Facebook Credits revenue stream has been growing at a snail’s pace, growing by only $6 million between its last two quarters. The infusion of gambling could change that.



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