Social Gambling under Scrutiny of British Regulators

Posted: June 15, 2012

Updated: October 4, 2017

British gambling regulators are scrutinizing social gaming sites to determine if they're crossing borders into becoming casinos.

The British gambling laws are at the forefront of regulatory gambling framework in the world. Various sorts of betting are allowed in Britain.

So far, the social gambling sites, such as Zynga, were able to stay out of regulatory oversight as they offered free gambling. But, this has changed. Players now need to pay actual cash to buy extra chips or other gadgets.

In effect, this is blurring the lines between such sites as online casinos in United Kingdom and social gaming. After all, if you have to pay to play, and the operators are looking to make money of you for playing let’s say poker, then it starts to look like gambling.

Furthermore, certain social media sites are looking to offer playing games for real money, thus crossing the border from being free gaming sites to being casinos. This also raises other questions, especially related to underage gambling. If children as young as thirteen can open a Facebook profile, what will prevent them from gambling? And what if ten-year-olds claim to be twenty?

The UK gambling regulators are closely watching the social gambling developments to determine if it is gambling or not. Since social media are entering the world of smartphones, the next area to cover is how social media will combine with wireless technology and possibly form mobile casinos in UK.

The online and traditional casinos are investing into development of social gambling games. One example is Bwin which is investing $50 million into social games development and distribution.

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