Facebook's gamble on the future

It's genius. Starting here in the UK, Facebook has launched an experiment with online gambling by unleashing a real-money gambling app. Like I've always said, if you cannot make money the old fashioned way, open a casino or go into porn. I suspect that porn will be next for Facebook. But first, the social network will be pushing on the gambling front.

The gambling app in question is called Bingo Friendzy, and it’s exclusive to the UK for the moment, as Facebook feels most comfortable beginning here, in Britain’s safe and legal environment for gambling.

The app, and what will doubtless follow, opens up a world of possibilities. You can go on Facebook and check in to see what your close friends (who you would not care about if it were not for Facebook) are doing, or what they are gossiping about. You can post a few things on a few walls. You can complain about David Cameron’s latest faux-pas. Then, you can go into the Facebook Casino and blow your whole month’s wages on video poker. Fantastic!

While the US is a very different kettle of poker chips to the UK, and Facebook hasn't announced plans for any such gambling initiative in the States, you can be sure that people are working on it now. Because Facebook needs to push this gambling idea as far as possible.

Facebook is a somewhat disappointing company from the perspective of investors, who cannot see real revenue growth anytime soon from traditional advertising. It could, however, become a juggernaut in the online gaming world. This all coincides nicely with numerous attempts to legalise online gaming in the US, be it poker or sports betting.

Reaching nearly a billion users, Facebook should be able to rally the masses to promote gaming legislation that would benefit the company. Then everyone can have both gambling and Gamblers Anonymous groups on the same site, for the ultimate in convenience.

If you are looking for a rationale, look no further than the US state governments and their various multi-million jackpot promising lottery scams. These stupid games pay out poorly and seem to generate very little income for the states after the middlemen take most of it for administration purposes. I'd guess that if the states see Facebook gaming as a new income stream, they'll jump at the chance.

Facebook is headquartered in California, which is essentially bankrupt. The state should welcome this genius idea.

I'll give the credit to Zuckerberg, although I'm sure some underling suggested it first. The company has seen how well the various Zynga games have done on the site. Now, just add a pure gambling component with real money and real pay-outs, and you have the money grab of the century. Facebook stock will skyrocket.

I should mention that, as far as I'm concerned, gambling is bad for the spirit and should be avoided. Too many people become addicted to gambling and by its nature, those people end up ruined. It's too common to ignore. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of places such as Las Vegas – outposts of rampant gambling where you get to enjoy the spectacle. But there will be no spectacle with Facebook gambling. You'll only hear the sound of money being sucked from the Facebook users' bank accounts.

After that, I expect to see the Yahoo Casino and the Google Gambling Palace, where they have "Guaranteed Winners!" and "The BEST Odds!"

None of this is good.