Facebook Gambles with Online Casinos

by Matt Klassen on December 5, 2011

Facebook is increasingly becoming the hub of millions of people’s entire digital existence, offering them a place to connect with friends, play mind-numbing time-wasting games, share photos and news, and inundate everyone they know with pointless ‘Likes.’ Now rumours are circulating through the UK that Facebook may be looking to add one more addictive element to its social network: online gambling.

Perhaps a preemptive measure to bolster investor confidence in the days leading up to the company’s inevitable IPO, British tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail is reporting that Facebook is “in negotiations with around 20 gambling experts, consultants, and homes of online gambling.”

So what does this mean for the world’s most popular social network? Money, of course, with a side of user alienation. While there’s bound to be some moral outcry should these online casino rumours prove true, it just goes to show that for Facebook no money making scheme is off the table.

While pay-to-play games already abound on Facebook, with popular titles like FarmVille and Mafia Wars offering bonuses and unique in-game content to those willing to pony up the cash, soon it looks like CasinoVille will be rolling into town. With online casinos on Facebook, it’ll be just that easy to share photos with friends, waste a little time, and lose your entire life savings on a bad hand of Texas Hold’em, although I’m sure Facebook will find a better way to advertise the gambling addition.

Some may be wondering why this story is breaking in the UK instead of the US, and the answer to that is likely twofold: First, as creating and floating rumours go, British tabloid newspapers make their American counterparts look like the epitome of journalistic integrity, meaning that there is a real possibility that this story simply isn’t true.

The second point, however, is that when it comes to online gambling, the British are much more open and accepting, unlike nations where social and political discourse is often dominated by an over-zealous Religious Right. Although many Americans do enjoy online gambling, there is the possibility that such a venture into social network gambling may have the power to do what endless privacy issues where never able to do: alienate users.

To this point Facebook has steered clear of anything that could be construed as a moral issue, opening its social network to people from all walks of life. Gambling, however, is a different story; a polarizing issue with vehement support on both sides of the conversation–one need only to look at the popularity of Las Vegas as an American vacation destination for proponents of the vice.

The veracity of the story aside, Facebook’s only comment on the Daily Mail story was regarding the issue of child safety and reliable age verification, with the social networking giant stating that it has always maintained the safety and privacy of our youth, a story so far-fetched in itself that perhaps Facebook should consider its own tangential foray into the tabloid business instead.

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Previous post:

Next post: