Update: Fuss about Facebook’s Online Gambling Ambitions

UK problem gambling bodies express concern

In terms of Facebook’s recently announced plans to potentially venture into the real money online gambling sector, a number of observers and interested parties voiced their opinions, which ranged from positive reactions to serious concerns, such as those about underage gambling.

In the UK, Dr Robert Lefever, founding director of the Promis Recovery Centre which treats addicts, expressed his opinion, stating: “Introducing gambling to Facebook is a cynical way for the gambling industry to find new markets, making gambling look acceptable.

"There will be young people who think these games have Facebook approval, that you can gamble and it’s fun. It’s not – gambling destroys families."

A similar concern was expressed by Labour MP Louise Ellman, who said: "Children spend hours on Facebook and parents need to be confident that it is a safe environment."

In addition, Lauri Moyle, of Christian Action Research Education (CARE), said: “Because there is a link between the age when people start gambling and the likelihood of developing a difficulty controlling their gambling, protecting children from the normalisation of gambling is vital," whereas Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, opined that "Even when no money changes hands, young children are learning the mechanics of gambling. These games can be a gateway to more serious gambling."

As for Facebook and its position, it remains the same: "We are always in discussions with companies about lots of different ideas, but we don’t comment on future plans or speculation."

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