Will Facebook Become a Key Player in U.S. Online Gaming?

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Arguably the most popular social media platform in the world, Facebook appears poised to expand its ever-growing empire into the online gaming industry. Rumors circulated in early December 2011 that Facebook was developing a platform for its United Kingdom users to gamble online for real money, perhaps even as soon as in the first quarter of 2012. With millions of users worldwide, Facebook would be poised to accomplish what other online gaming sites could only achieve at a much smaller scale — reaching a large and constantly growing database of players. And with intrastate poker gaining traction in the United States, Facebook, and the new technology that it is developing, may end up as a leading player in the online gaming industry in the United States if and when legalization arrives.

Facebook is no stranger to online gaming. For some time now, it has offered its users the option of playing online games for Facebook credits as an alternative to real money. Earlier this year, Facebook changed its advertising policies, allowing online gambling companies to advertise in jurisdictions where such services are permitted. In the past, Facebook has been extremely strict when it comes to advertising online gambling business on its website. Now, Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines web page has a specific online gambling clause under the Gambling and Lotteries subsection of the Ad Content section, which reads: “Ads that promote or facilitate online gambling, games of skill or lotteries, including online casino, sports books, bingo, or poker, are only allowed in specific countries with prior authorization from Facebook.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jeff Ifrah | Attorney Advertising

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