Facebook and Paddy Power team up for new gambling app
Facebook is to launch a sports gambling app in partnership with bookmaker Paddy Power, allowing users to gamble with real money for the first time.
Paddy Power In-Play! is the first product to allow gambling with real money on the social networking site, and will mark a turning point for businesses eager to capitalise on its millions of users.
It is currently being trialed as an app for desktop users of Facebook in the UK, where gambling laws are more relaxed than the US, before being rolled out in the next few weeks.
The app will allow users to bet on horse races, football matches and other sports.
Paddy Power is no stranger to social media, using Twitter and Facebook to monitor and interact with its fans and their interests, with their Twitter account description offering 'Betting news and banter served with a side of mischief'.
Facebook faced criticism last year after introducing a range of casino games that allowed children to gamble with 'virtual' money.
Members, who must be 13 or over to sign up to the site, can play a wide range of games traditionally associated with betting, including roulette, slot machines and card games.
Once the user turns 18, targeted gambling adverts become visible for the first time.
Yesterday the bookmaker insisted that player participation will be subject to strict age verification checks, and that the game cannot be viewed by users under the age of 18.
Peter O’Donovan, managing director of Paddy Power Online said: "The launch of the first real money sports betting product on Facebook is testament to Paddy Power’s e-commerce and technology capabilities.
"We are pleased to partner with Facebook on this pioneering work."
Will Collins, Head of Social Casino partnerships at Facebook said: "Given the popularity of sports betting in the UK, we're delighted to be welcoming Paddy Power onto the Facebook gaming platform with an innovative gaming experience."
A Facebook spokesman said: "Online betting is a popular and well-regulated pastime in the UK. Our carefully chosen partners work within stringent regulatory guidelines to ensure their products and services are used safely and responsibly by adults. These products will be invisible and inaccessible to people aged under 18 on Facebook."