Facebook has denied claims that it’s attempting to extort thousands of dollars from various gambling fan pages. A representative from Facebook told CalvinAyre.com that the claims, published on BlackJackChamp.com (link here), were “false” and added little apart from that.
The claims, made on gambling forum Casino Affiliate Programs, stated the social networking site was demanding £10k every month from gambling fan pages just to stay in existence. This was in addition to a minimum ad spend of £30,000 for running a campaign that relates to gambling and all this without actually taking bets or allowing real-money play via the site.
Regarding the gambling spend, Linda Griffin, a spokesperson from Facebook, later told CalvinAyre.com: “As gambling is a highly regulated area, our ads policy doesn’t allow advertisers to promote gambling without pre-approval. If an advertiser violates this, we notify them and as part of the vetting process to ensure quality advertisers we recommend a minimum spend which we have found deters bad actors and helps us protect our users.”
As with any argument like this there are two sides to the story. On the affiliate side of things, there is evidence of emails exchanged hands between the two sides and it seems to clearly show the money being requested by Facebook. The problem is that Facebook is the site and gambling affiliates are simply being allowed to use it as they please. It gives Facebook the chance to basically do what they like and shows that relying on Facebook, although fruitful, still holds inherent risks.
Industry chatter has been rife as to whether Facebook will enter the real-money gambling market for some time with many of the belief that it will be the knight in shining armor to save their floundering stock price. Confirmed rumors of chit-chat between Facebook and 888 Holdings were confirmed earlier on this year with Gamesys already launching the real-money bingo and slots game Friendzy on the social network.
Zynga, who it’s safe to say are in an ‘it’s complicated’ relationship with Facebook, aren’t likely to be a part of that and the way they’re going it will a surprise if they’re even around to see Facebook delving head-long into the world of social gambling. Facebook has managed to turn the corner regarding mobile ad revenue and the next tricky task for Zuckerberg and co will be to turn play-money players into real-money ones if they’re actually going to take on the gambling industry head-on. It will also give a welcome boost to the share price – something that will be music to their little blue ears.