Facebook gambles on real-money gambling apps to increase revenue

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Desperate to impress Wall Street, Facebook (FB) now allows users 18 and older in the United Kingdom to play games for real money, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday. The first gambling application to hit the social network is called Bingo Friendzy and it offers users the chance to play various bingo and slot machine games with real money rather than Facebook credits. Gamesys, a British company that operates the U.K.’s largest bingo and slots website, is offering the game and while Facebook is not directly involved, it is reportedly testing the waters to determine if online gambling might be a viable revenue stream.

“Facebook is a place that allows people to connect and share,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Real money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK and we are allowing a partner to offer their games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner.”

In order to play the game, users will have to verify their identity, proving they are of age and located in the U.K. Facebook has also banned all activity from the game from appearing on the news feeds of users under the age of 18, according to a TechCrunch source.

“Young people are far more likely to see an ad for Bingo on the TV or in a betting shop window as they walk to school than they are on Facebook,” the source said, noting that users from outside the U.K. will not be able to see the ads either.

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