It has long been the case that Facebook refused to allow real-money gambling on their site, but this has all changed with the release of Bingo Friendzy, the first Facebook app where players can risk their own money and claim large prizes.
With this release, the debate has already started as to whether this is appropriate and ethical, and each side has its own proponents of the argument. Of course, Facebook themselves support the change wholeheartedly — would you really expect any other viewpoint from them? — with their head of gaming stating…
“[Bingo is] already a social experience, [so] it makes sense to offer that as well.”
Why has Facebook suddenly had such a change in opinion though? A year ago, a gambling app on Facebook would have seemed unthinkable, thanks to the wholesome and friendly nature that the site tried to portray. The answer seems to be the fact that gambling is big business, and Mr Zuckerberg et al want to cash in on this profitable niche.
Over the next few months, more and more gambling apps are expected to be released, all of which will have to pay a substantial fee to Facebook themselves. In fact, the market is so ripe for the picking that Zynga – the people behind Farmville and FrontierVille, amongst others – has announced it will be releasing real-money games in the very near future. Zynga already accounts for 12% of Facebook’s profits, so their move into the gambling world will be a really big deal.
Is It Right?
The first thing that we must say is that anyone looking to play this real-money game has to be over the age of 18, and this is verified using credit card details. This means that Facebook credits won’t be accepted here. We all know that this won’t stop everyone under this age from gambling though, so the question is this: is the launch of real-money gambling apps on Facebook immoral?
Now, as we are a gambling website, you would expect us to fully support this launch, but we don’t. This is for one simple reason: the majority of users of Facebook are young and impressionable, and giving them easy access to online gambling is something that will only increase their chances of developing a gambling problem later in life. The sites we promote are bona-fide gambling sites, whereby people have to want to play, as opposed to simply stumble on them by accident.
The biggest issue we have is the fact that, although they say it is for adults only, the layout of the game is very childlike, with cute characters possibly designed to lull in young gamblers. Remember when alcopops were first launched, with labels aimed at attracting kids to the drink? We think this is just as immoral and something that could damage children and teenagers around the world.
In a world increasingly dominated by online media and social networking, it is the responsibility of these sites to protect users, especially when they are young and easily persuaded. Facebook is a company that makes $1 billion a year in profit (2011 figures), so is it necessary for them to raise their profits that tiny bit more by endangering the most vulnerable in society? We’ll leave you to answer that question, but we know where we stand!
What’s The Answer?
So, what is the answer to this issue? Will anyone be able to stop Facebook from adding real-money apps to their line-up? The answer is the one you might expect: no. Facebook is so powerful and its users are, on the whole, incredibly loyal. This means that there will be no fighting the introduction of this type of app. The only way to banish it would be to follow the US’s stance and effectively ban all online gambling (Facebook’s gambling apps won’t be accessible in the USA), and we don’t want that to happen!
If you want to play bingo online or on your mobile, we would recommend going to a dedicated bingo site. For mobile bingo, we particularly recommend mFortune and Foxy Mobile Bingo. They know mobile bingo like the back of their hand and will do everything in the correct way – unlike this new app on Facebook, which has sprung up from nowhere and probably doesn’t even understand how the game is played anyway…
That’s it for today – rant over! Make sure you check back regularly for more articles, tips and reviews of the biggest and best mobile bingo sites you can find!