Facebook users in United Kingdom that are of legal age are now capable of playing real-money online bingo and slots. This started last August 7, 2012 on the Bingo & Slots Friendzy application. However, people below the age of 18 and users outside the U.K. will be blocked from playing.
The application is operated by Gamesys, which owns and runs online gambling site Jackpotjoy, and also runs sites including Caesars Casino and Sun Bingo. The Jackpotjoy branded Friendzy app is accessible 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 said to the Financial Times.
The BBC reports a Facebook official wouldn't validate if the company is obtaining its standard 30 percent cut of income produced from the application.
A lot of Facebook users have been anticipating the move for quite some time. While social gaming companies like Zynga have developed their whole business design through Facebook, online gambling companies have lately joined the space, seeking to transform recreational social gamers into real-money gamblers. A few, like Gamesys have constructed their own systems. Other ones have purchased successful social gaming sites. IGT, for example, obtained DoubleDown Interactive for $500 million earlier this year.
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.