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  • Facebook Contemplates Entering Online Gaming Industry

    Thursday, December 8th, 2011 by Nadia

The world’s most extensive social networking site, Facebook, is poised to enter the online gambling real money market in the United Kingdom in 2012. Reports indicate that Facebook has begun exploring its options by talking to already established online gaming operators in the UK. The company has reportedly started hiring staff in preparation for the launch of its new platform. Facebook has also been in talks with both Gamesys and 888 Holdings.

Gamesys has been an important part of the online gambling scene since its launch in 2001. Players at the site are offered a variety of games that are based on TV shows such as Deal or No Deal. 888 Poker is presently the fourth largest poker network on the internet.

What Players Can Expect from Facebook

Facebook’s discussions with already existing online gaming operators indicate that the gambling for real money options that it provides will be sourced from external operators. The social networking site will be the platform, not the brand. Facebook’s current status quo has it earning 30% from the deposits (real money) that are made for the use of its virtual currency. The remaining 70% is given to game developers. Experts have estimated that Facebook could benefit from approximately $149.3 million annually. Its partner could earn around $348.5 million.

Facebook at present is the host of Zynga Poker. The game is by Zynga, a poker site that has more than 30 million users each month. Playing for real money is not an option with Zynga Poker. Recently, the General Manager of Zynga Poker has stated that the company has no interest in entering the online gaming real money market.

Issues Facebook Might Face

According to Emil Protalinski, the author of ‘Friending Facebook’, a blog that discusses the many facets of the world’s most famous social network, there are several issues that will have to be dealt with before Facebook’s real money gambling takes off. For example, there may be age verification problems with the users of the site.

Facebook began primarily as a means of online communication and networking. Therefore, privacy is an important part of the package. Some users don’t list their names, addresses or phone numbers on their profiles. This can make it difficult for Facebook, as there is no way it can verify the ages of those who want to try their hand at online gambling without these details.

Another issue could be finding a third party outlet that is capable of processing the transactions that are conducted, especially since it will be on a large scale. Dividing the profits between partners can also be tricky. Facebook’s online gaming operations cannot be conducted at their home base in the United States as it is still illegal to conduct online gambling operations in the country.

Facebook’s Response to Queries

A representative from Facebook, when asked about the likelihood of the site entering the online gaming arena, stated that the networking service provider has always been in discussions with several companies about different concepts.

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