Real-money gaming has officially arrived on Facebook, albeit in the United Kingdom instead of the U.S. Online gambling company Gamesys today launched Bingo Friendzy for Facebook, the first casino title to incorporate real-money play on the social network.
Gamesys operates the popular Bingo and slots website jackpotjoy in the U.K. As with jackpotjoy, users need to be above the age of 18 years old and verify their age and identity in order to play Bingo Friendzy. The app itself contains 90 different Bell Bingo and slots games, and The Telegraph reports players need credit cards to play instead of soft/hard currency.
As opposed to many other countries, including the United States, gambling is a part of the U.K. culture and it’s comparatively easy to operate an online gambling site/app on a global scale. Last month, Christopher Griffin told us his real-money gaming platform Betable is able to operate worldwide because the company’s servers are in the U.K. and the country’s laws allow them to operate anywhere in the world, except in those nations where online gambling is explicitly forbidden.
At the moment, real-money gaming is still illegal in the United States because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (although there are exceptions in the states of Nevada and New Jersey), but the law is expected to be overturned within the next few years. That said, more and more studios are launching social casino apps on Facebook because they tend to have stronger monetization and retention rates than standard arcade titles. Developers like Zynga and Idle Games have recently gone on record to say they’re positioned to take advantage of real-money gaming when it’s legalized in North America, and it also seems likely that casino groups like IGT Interactive, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts are poised to do so as well.