SBC’s Sam Cooke has taken a look at how the gambling industry has approached Facebook and how Facebook has handled the gambling industry. In the final of three parts, he speculates what will be possible in the future.
The United States
America and gambling have not always seen eye to eye. It is a nation in which just twenty years ago casinos were legal in only six states, yet today it’s over thirty. (http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/facebook-gambling-is-coming-and-it-may-save-zynga/#!MVW0S). Whilst gambling online remains illegal across much of the vast country, it seems that a change is gonna come.
New Jersey has been the first state to fully legalise online gambling and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has been quick to seize the opportunity teaming up with Gamesys and Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City to bring online gambling to the state. Branson is not the only one to realise the potential gains in getting in on the game early and partnering a land-based casino; a required condition in the legislation. The likes of Betfair have teamed up with Trump Plaza whilst bwin.party have partnered Borgata. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2014/02/04/is-online-gambling-virgin-on-new-territory-in-the-garden-state/2/)
New Jersey, the state of historic gambling infamy, is just the first however; the trailblazer in the US. Eight other states have bills in the works to legalise it online, with Delaware and Nevada having made the most headway after passing legislation last year to allow it in a limited, watered down form.
When this happens, Facebook will be ready. As previously discussed the company Zynga has teamed up with Facebook to produce successful betting based games for the UK; they will be little short of drooling at the prospect of the American market opening up. Estimates are difficult to pinpoint but there have been claims that, in just the upcoming years, the U.S. online gambling market could be worth around $9bn.
Furthermore, Geoff Freeman, the CEO of the American Gaming Association, stated that in 2013, prior to even one state legalising online gambling, “Americans spent nearly $3bn in illegal, unregulated offshore gaming sites”. (http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/01/21/cybergambling-returns-and-this-time-it-legal/).
Facebook, and its various partners, will be all too aware of these statistics and will doubtless be keeping a very close eye on the changes in legislation across the country in the coming months.
Facebook is big, this much we know. In terms of the betting industry, a blossoming relationship with a social media site that currently has over 1.28bn users (that’s 11% percentage of the world population)(http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/) can only mean equally big things. Whether more and more bookmakers will decide to mimic the evidently fruitful marketing style of Paddy Power, or stick to more ‘traditional’ methods is unclear, though the trend of becoming more social and user-friendly; replying to comments and engaging personally with users (the basis of the Irish bookmaker’s ideology) is one that is on the increase across the board.
In short the ever expanding Facebook world is the betting industry’s oyster, what and how much they choose to do with it is up to them.