There are rumours do the rounds that Facebook is busy talking to some UK operators to see if they can offer real money online casino games on their platform at the beginning of 2012.
At the moment, the most commonly played Facebook poker game is called Zynga Texas Holdem Poker, which has been available on facebook since 2008. They also have some very good Facebook Blackjack and Facebook Slots games but of course all of these games are played for free, without having any money involved.
Facebook is apparently preparing and getting geared up for this new venture and will only focus on the UK and the over eighteen market.
Considering that, if this idea sees the light, it will be a huge undertaking, they will only give eight licenses to UK only operators, to start off on a slow note, which at least gives us some idea that they are not jumping in too quickly.
On the one hand I think that this venture could work and because Facebook have such a massive client base, they will probably be able to steal quite a bit of market share from other competing online casino offerings. This could also lead to them boosting the industry and using their muscle to fight governments who want to illegalize gambling, i.e. in the US.
But deep down I can’t help to think that this may be a bad idea. There is a difference between playing Farmville on Facebook and asking your Facebook Friends if they could perhaps spare you a sheep. It’s a whole other story to play paid for online casino games, which are only open to people from certain countries above the age of 18.
How is Facebook going to ensure that people under the age of 18 will not gain access to these games? Also, even though they will be able to scan people’s IP addresses, it’s not that easy to do geographical screening and there are many young IT geeks out there that will be able to outsmart them both in terms of age restrictions and country of residence.
My biggest concern is that most of my friends and indeed ‘Facebook Friends’ are already very dubious when it comes to trusting Facebook and their security measures. It has been reported that Facebook never deletes ANYTHING, when you delete something off your profile or wall or personal messages, they take it off there, but keep a record of it, even after you die.
So what will stop their manual office workers from selling this information or giving out details of your monetary transactions? And what currency will Facebook use and how will they pay out their customers?
Personally, I feel Facebook should stick to what they are good at – social networking – and leave the online casino market to the experts.