Facebook today (Aug. 7) launched Bingo Friendzy, the first gambling game to use real money on the social network.
For now, it’s U.K. only, where online gambling is legal and well regulated. Players must be 18 or older to play.
And it may be some time — if ever — that U.S. players will be able to get in on the game. The U.S. Justice Department last year ruled that online non-sports betting games were not illegal under the Wire Act of 1961 and that each state could regulate online gambling for itself. California and New Jersey were among the first states to consider legalizing online gambling.
It is unlikely that Facebook would allow gambling games until they were legal across all 50 states. In response to our question, the company said only, “We are working with licensed partners to offer certain games in the UK. We have nothing further to announce at this time.” Searching for Bingo Friendzy from a U.S.-based computer results in this message: “Use of app “Bingo & Slots Friendzy” has been restricted.”
More betting games are in the U.K. queue. Zynga said it will launch real-money versions of its Bingo and Poker games next year, along with new slot machine games, according to a report in the Financial Times. Players will use credit cards instead of Facebook credits , a system that Facebook is quietly retiring.