UK Bingo Operators Not Happy With Facebook’s New Bingo Games

With 800 users around the globe Facebook is the undisputed leader in social networking. For young people Facebook is an aspect of daily life and anyone can easily set up their own Facebook page. Facebook users can also play a variety of games on the site. In January when Facebook announced plans to launch real money bingo games on the site many online bingo operators saw the move as a serious threat. In fact, Facebook’s decision was a matter of grave concern for UK based online bingo operators. Many online gaming operators opposed the move saying it would encourage underage gambling but these claims were dismissed as hypocritical and blatant self-interest. Opponents of the underage gambling concerns say that since online bingo operators and other gaming sites advertise their services on Facebook the concerns are hypocritical.

Industry competition in the internet bingo industry is fierce and Facebook online bingo games could easily be seen as a major threat to the industry. In February social gaming giant Zynga announced the launch of their own version of bingo on Facebook. Zynga has had great success with Farmville and Zynga poker on Facebook. Until last year Facebook prohibited any advertisements for internet gambling services but has now reversed course. Currently online bingo operators outside of the United States may advertise their services on Facebook. Facebook guaranteed that gambling ads would only be shown to users over 18. Many online bingo operators were quick to take advantage of Facebook’s potential as a new advertising medium. When Facebook announced plans to offer their own bingo games many advertisers withdrew their ads on Facebook.

The online bingo industry has good cause to fear Facebook’s latest move. One senior executive at a major player in the online bingo industry pointed out the advantages Facebook has over its competitors. The unnamed executive pointed out that advertising online bingo services and products is very expensive and even after spending millions bingo operators cannot be sure they are reaching their targeted audiences. Statistics show that over 50% of the UK population has Facebook accounts and the site will be able to advertise their services to a wide audience at no cost to the company.

Gambling addiction experts are also unhappy with Facebook’s decision to offer real money gambling. Dr Robert Lefever, director of Promise Rehab Clinic says that the introduction of gambling on Facebook could lead impressionable and vulnerable children to believe that the games have the approval of Facebook.

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