The social gaming industry rumor-mill has gone into overdrive after reports emerged that Facebook might become a fully-fledged member of the online gaming industry eGR has confirmed the speculation that Facebook could be making the plunge with…yet more of that tasty speculation. It will get many in gaming excited that the industry will get even more access to the social network’s base of 500m+ users. The opportunities in this area are quite simply huge.
Facebook is “rumored to have recently hired a significant number of personnel to work launching real money play in the UK.” One voice told eGR that the social network could launch real-money play “as early as the further quarter of next year.”
According to sources, Facebook began “exploratory talks” with 20 gaming industry experts in order to work out the best strategy going forward. This involved operators, consultants, social gaming entrepreneurs and affiliates. It’s reported that a company representative met with a number of renowned operators and brands over dinner in Soho last night to discuss the best way forward.
In terms of who might be the first to benefit, eGR mentions that Gamesys and 888 are “first in the queue” for the likely initial offering of eight licenses to individual operators. Gamesys founder Noel Hayden was reportedly one of those treated to dinner in Soho but when we contacted both Gamesys and 888 for comment, neither was forthcoming by the time the article was published.
Free-play poker has had a presence on the social network for some time with the much-vaunted Zynga Poker app now the largest poker site of any kind with 35million users per month. It would have a say in anything that happens with regards to online gaming on Facebook and anyone that signed up with Zynga would unlock a goldmine.
It’s remains to be seen how soon this will happen as information given is rather hazy and it’s unclear as to where it has come from. Ever since Facebook decided to adjust its advertising laws earlier this year there has been widespread chitchat that the site would enter into the world of online gambling and it looks as though the UK will be its first port of call. Whether it will be a wise move for the UK to award Facebook a license to operate gambling isn’t clear and it would be sensible for the Gambling Commission to think this over before making a final decision. Until anything concrete comes from Facebook itself there’s little to go on and the excitement will have a wait a few months more.