The effect of the availability of casino and cash games and sports betting to young users of Facebook remains to be seen when games using actual money are rolled out. However in the meantime both politicians and those working with young people fear that the dangers of access to these games will have a detrimental effect on young Facebook members and that such games should remain the domain of adults.
Facebook, the leading social networking site has decided to move into the area of online gaming. For many, including politicians and sociologists this is looked upon in a negative light as the young could be encouraged to gamble at an age when they should not be interested in gambling or casino games.
The age profile of Facebook members in Great Britain where Facebook plans launch its online gaming includes several million adolescents.Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook site plans to broaden its range of entertainment by introducing games such as roulette, poker, bingo and slot machines. The games are to be first introduced on Facebook in Great Britain where at the moment members can play these games purely for entertainment using virtual chips or money. However as soon as the casino games are rolled out involving the use of real money the danger predicted by politicians and those working with young people with addiction problems is that young people with no prior interest in gambling may possibly become attracted to it through games.
The Labour MP L. Ellman has said that due to its widespread use that Facebook can greatly influence young or otherwise vulnerable people. There is also the possibility that some parents may remain unaware that their children are gambling while using Facebook.This move into the area of online gaming has been criticised by some as an attempt to increase revenue for Facebook. It has tried to defend the move by claiming that access to these games will increase young people’s awareness of gaming and make them more responsible when gambling in the future.The first online betting app has been launched by Facebook but for the moment it is only available in the United States. This is a sports betting app designed by Socialitize Limited. Bets can be placed on sports such as football, golf, tennis, baseball and basketball and the danger for young people lies in the attractiveness of these games and even though false money is used in the app, real money will be needed to buy tokens on the web. Under age gamers do not appear to be offered any protection when using this app which is said to resemble a normal sports betting site. However the approach is that of a video or computer game where one can gain points and move to higher levels of competition. The social and interactive nature of the app is put forward by the director general of Socialitize Limited, A. Brink.