Facebook subscribers in the UK can now use real gambling money on their pages.
Facebook, the world’s largest social networking company, already provided gambling services on its website through a bingo application, but now it has added a new feature to gamble with real money.
In collaboration with 888 Holdings, the new system allows players to gamble up to £500 in Facebook.
The setup may result to a great deal of trouble if parents forget to close their Facebook accounts and their children can log in and play, said Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, Nottingham Trent University.
He told the Telegraph through the Daily Mail, “You win virtually every time you play one of the free games.”
He said the free games may lure many players but can rapidly turn into a big troublemaker.
“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,” he said.
However, Griffiths clarified a couple of issues regarding his case on his personal blog and said that the Telegraph and Daily Mail cherry-picked citations to make it appear he is anti-Facebook gambling.
He said, “The front page of today’s Daily Mail screamed ‘Fury at Facebook online casinos’. The story included approximately 10-15 seconds of quotes from a 15-minute interview I did with them yesterday evening.”
“I explained at the start of the interview that I was not anti-gambling or anti-Facebook gambling, and that my main interests in relation to gambling via Facebook are player protection, harm minimization, and the protection of vulnerable and susceptible individuals.”
Griffiths denied saying that research repeatedly demonstrated playing free games online as a big factor in the development of gambling problems.
Facebook said the arrangement for real gambling money is not for children and consulted a charity organization before it rolled out the money games.
“Real money gaming is a popular and well-regulated pastime in the UK. A number of experienced, responsible gaming companies use the Facebook platform to provide secure games – similar games are readily available elsewhere online. Prior to the introduction of these games through Facebook, we consulted with many experts, including the UK Charity Gamcare, the leading provider of information, advice, support and free counselling for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling,” it said.
“We plan to continue working closely with Gamcare and support their campaigns going forward.”