Gambling Commission Explores Social Gaming in the UK

By Debra SaundersGoogle

Reports this week indicate that the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom has begun an examination of social gaming. The announcement has received mixed reviews from top rated online casinos.  

The Commission said that it was becoming more aware of the increased popularity of casino games online played on social networking sites like Facebook versus casino games online played at traditional top rated online casino sites.

The casino games offered on social gaming platforms are generally free to play and thus far have escaped the attention of regulators in the United Kingdom and the United States. Players can spend money buying extra points or chips if they play the game enough.

John Travers, Corporate Affairs Manager for the UK Gambling Commission, commented, “The key question is, is it gambling or not? We are monitoring developments and assessing any wider implications for licensing objectives.”

Ivor Jones, an analyst with Numis Securities, spoke about regulation of games on social networking sites. He stated, "If regulators conclude that such games with gambling characteristics should be regulated, it will be difficult for them to continue to be offered to many players, which would financially hurt the games operators and Facebook.”

Advocates for children’s interest groups are concerned about the availability of online casino games to minors and call for regulation. They say that social gaming is easily available to children as young as thirteen who have Facebook accounts and this should be taken into consideration. 

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