Since the announcement late last year that Facebook is considering offering real money gambling applications the gaming industry has been abuzz with excitement; and why wouldn’t they? The prospect of reaching hundreds of millions of Facebook users set off a frenzy of activity as gaming companies began preparing for this potentially game changing move.
But announcing an interest in real money gambling and actually implementing it are two very different entities. Every country has different gaming laws and navigating them could be a big job for the social media giant. Let’s take a moment to look at some of the pitfalls and profits that could come along with real money gaming on Facebook.
UK & Europe
Europe and the UK are the most likely starting points for real money gambling on Facebook. Online gaming is already well established and regulated in this part of the world, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be problem free.
The UK offers one of the friendliest regulatory environments outside of Nevada and will probably see gambling on Facebook before anywhere else does. It’s been reported that UK-friendly gaming companies like 888 are already deep in negotiations with Facebook to make this dream a reality.
With its huge market for online bingo and other games that are already popular on Facebook, there’s little question that UK residents will embrace this new venture.
In the rest of Europe, regulatory issues could slow the adaptation of real money Facebook gambling apps. Though gaming liberalization is slowly gaining ground in countries like France and Denmark, other big markets like Germany and Spain are still fighting it tooth and nail.
Though the tide is turning in favor of igaming, there’s no telling how these governments will react to social media gaming.
The largely untapped Asian-Pacific igaming market is a big question mark for Facebook gambling. While Facebook is very popular in some parts of Asia, especially Indonesia, it’s struggling in key markets including South Korea and Japan. Facebook is also blocked entirely from the key Chinese market.
Don’t be surprised if Facebook waits until they’ve got the European and American markets figured out before tackling Asia.
United States of America
Another big question mark is how Facebook gambling will look in the United States. If individual states offer online poker, limiting access to residents of those states could prove problematic. After all, what’s to keep a Nevada resident from setting up a legal gaming account there and then moving to nearby Utah?
Whatever the challenges involved in bringing Facebook gambling stateside, big name gaming companies seem ready to embrace them. Last year Caesars Entertainment and International Gaming Technology spent hundreds of millions acquiring smaller tech firms to help get an edge on real money social gaming. And don’t forget about Zynga.
The makers of Texas Hold ‘Em, Facebook’s most popular gaming app, are certain to be a major force in any scenario involving Facebook gambling. Earlier this month the social gaming giant mentioned an interest in acquiring a land based casino. A Nevada gaming license is must have for any company looking to provide online gaming in the Silver State.
What We Know
What we know so far about real money gambling on Facebook is pretty limited. But the potential is great enough that any serious gaming affiliate had better be mixing a Facebook strategy into their long term marketing plans.