Everyone’s favorite social network lost a little more of its innocence today. Facebook has announced that it will enter the world of online gambling with Bingo Friendzy, a new app designed by gaming bigwigs Gamesys that allows UK-based users aged 18 and older to compete for cash prizes online.
Given recent controversies over Internet gambling in the US (where it is currently illegal), Bingo could be a somewhat touchy subject for Facebook, a company whose public image has suffered in the wake of a disappointing stock performance and other assorted PR headaches. The company’s representatives assured the public that age-gating technology will prevent minors and other “vulnerable people” from playing the games or viewing related ads and also repeatedly stressed the fact that the app will only be available to users in the United Kingdom. Sounds like they’re anticipating a backlash.
AllFacebook covered the issue earlier today, noting that we shouldn’t expect similar offerings in the US anytime soon due to the federal government’s 2011 crackdown on popular poker sites. So will this new revenue source satisfy Facebook’s anxious investors, or will Gibraltar-based Gamesys go the way of Zynga? Only time will tell.
By the way, would you play bingo for cash on Facebook if you could?