Facebook Partners With 888 Holdings

Facebook’s entry into the real money gaming sector in the UK may be a great opportunity for the company but for some it is a source of concern. Many in the UK believe that real money games on Facebook will lure young players and create “tomorrow’s generation of problem gamblers.” Some experts say that the deal between Facebook and gaming giant 888 Holdings could cause “the floodgates to open” as more gambling companies utilize social networking websites. Facebook plans to offer slots roulette, blackjack and real money internet bingo. UK gamblers will be able to bet up to £500 using a credit or debit card.

The games will be available in the UK where the laws dealing with online gaming are saner than draconian US laws. Facebook and 888 insist they have adequate safeguards in place. 888 said that before users can place bets they will have to pass a number of security checks. Only users registered as an adult will be able to view and access the real money gaming applications. Users must provide credit card details and a physical address. Credit cards will be checked through 888’s filtering system to make sure the card details match those of the user. The company also has the ability to check IP addresses to make sure players are located where they say they are. Users that fail any of the tests will be ‘red flagged.’

Critics fear that those attracted to the new games will try to win money back after playing free games with unrealistic odds in their favor. Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, said “You win virtually every time you play one of the free games. Research has shown again and again that one of the biggest factors in developing problem gambling is playing free games online first. These children and teenagers today are the problem gamblers of tomorrow. “Griffiths warned that the deal with Facebook could trigger many gaming companies to enter the social gaming sector. If the gaming venture is successful gaming companies will be lining up to partner with the social networking company.

Itai Frieberger, chief operating officer of 888, told reporters “Our Facebook play for fun offerings have found a significant audience, and we are very excited by the opportunity real money gaming on Facebook provides.” He said his company will make sure that those under 18 cannot even view the games.