Facebook launched its first real-money application on August 7th with a game known as Bingo and Slots Friendzy, which is available only in the UK market. The introduction of this app is a bit of a turnaround for the giant social networking site when it comes to its gaming policy for members aged 18 and older. Only those people 18 and over will be able to play the games for money prizes. The company that developed the software is named Gamesys, which is well known in Britain for its Jackpotjoy.com site as well as Heart Bingo and Sun Bingo. The company will be distributing the online game to players in the UK via Facebook’s site.
Michael Saunders, who is a managing director at Gamesys, said his company is the leading operator of instant online win and bingo games and they’re committed to developing and extending their games to a broader adult crowd. He said the Bingo and Slots game has been reconfigured to appeal to British members of Facebook.
Julien Codorniou, who is involved in European gaming partnerships for Facebook, said they decided to go with Gamesys because the company is well respected in the online gaming industry in Britain and they want to make sure that Facebook users have a quality game to play. She also said Facebook wants to make sure the games that are introduced are done so in a responsible, safe and sensitive way.
Codorniou added that there have been a lot of debates in Britain regarding gambling addiction and online gaming and that Facebook has consulted GamCare about it. This is a charity that provides advice, support, and information about gambling addiction as well as free counseling for those who feel they may have a gambling problem.
The new app by Facebook may have an effect on the UK online gaming industry, but it will take several months to see just how much. One casino webmaster said there are a lot of similarities between social gamers and online bingo players. A 2010 survey described an average social gamer as being a 43-year-old female. This means the partnership between Facebook and Gamesys could work out very well.
Some people may end up playing their online games via Facebook since they may already be on the site and the new online game will be right in front of them and heavily advertised. In addition, Zynga, a gaming partner of Facebook, said it plans on launching real-money versions of some of its online games next year. Real money gaming is already quite popular in Britain since it’s strictly regulated and controlled.
Facebook said it will be using special technology to make sure that users under the age of 18 aren’t able to access the new online gaming app. There will also be a tool which will allow users to set their own spending limits. Gamesys’ online gaming activities are currently regulated and licensed by the government of Gibraltar.
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