Since Facebook’s inception in 2004 playing games on the website became one of the more popular activities besides checking in with friends and family that members could engage in. It was probably equally lucrative for games.com who managed the games on Facebook.
Over the years members enjoyed many hours (seriously) of playing games like Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak’s Trivia Gems, Mafia Wars, Breaking Bricks, Bomboozle, Bubble Brew, Farmville, Fishdom, Fishdom H20 Hidden Odyssey, various hidden object games, and Bouncing Balls.
At one point the games became bigger than connecting with friends because you could play the games by yourself and have instant messages with friends at the same time.
Facebook introduced casino games such as slots or card games, but the introduction was done slowly perhaps because the owners of Facebook didn’t want to alarm people especially the parents who help their kids to lie about their ages in order to become a member.
Over the years the website quietly removed games what were less popular and replaced them with games where you had to engage members of your circle to play in order to advance in the game. Although at the time this may have seemed like they were trying to get people to engage with each other it wasn’t. Soon enough Facebook’s agenda would be come quite clear; that they were preparing their members to be gamblers.
They also slowly introduced more gambling games, but rarely if ever removed them. There also wasn’t a lot of publicity about the number of new gambling games that were being posted.
In August of 2013 Facebook announced to players that the game they were playing was going to be cancelled within a certain number of days and as a consolation gift they gave the player 10,000 tokens. If you played more than one type of game that was being cancelled you would get more than 10,000 tokens. The gift of tokens wasn’t meant as a gesture purely from the heart, but as part of the devious plan that was still yet to unfold.
Facebook also promised the player that newer and better games would replace the old games, but that never happened. In fact they eliminated game categories entirely such as hidden object and action.
The website did add games, but they were all casino games. In fact that’s pretty much the only games they have left.
Currently there are 25 casino games and 6 card games. The two remaining categories, strategy and word, only have 7 games between them. That’s a far cry from the 100 games between four categories other than casino and cards.
In 2009 Zynga a social game service company entered into a partnership with Facebook and had a couple of games featured on the social media website, but this was probably just the beginning of the business venture of the two. Zynga was also responsible for bringing games like Hidden Chronicles and City Ville to Facebook that required the player to have friends join the game.
It was Zynga who was responsible for closing out games and while they were buying up smaller companies they also proceeded to layoff over150 employees in both Boston and Austin. In 2013 over 500 more employees were laid off.
It was in 2012 that they partnered with a company based in the UK called bwin.party in order to have live gaming brought to social media websites. In 2013 it was announced that Facebook would partner with Zynga as they launch online social gambling in the UK.
The only thing that prevents these two companies from launching the same program in the U.S. is that pesky little law that makes it illegal. God bless America.
Remember those 10,000 tokens? It was to steer Facebook members to the casino and card games even if the website couldn’t make any money off of it. Yet.
What permits Facebook to have these types of games on their website is because it doesn’t fit into the definition of gambling; where money or something of monetary value is used to bet and eventually lost or won.
There are a couple of problems surrounding Facebook and the games they promote, but especially with some of the people they have as members. Facebook knowingly permits people to join who are under the age of 13. Sometimes the parents lie to get them a membership and sometimes the kids lie to get on. With all the spyware that they brag about having it’s impossible that they don’t know who their members are.
For the kids who are between 13 and 21 Facebook doesn’t have a program to block them from playing the games either.
With the ages of these kids comes the issue that by having open access to the gambling games Facebook is raising gambling addicts and sending the wrong message that gambling is okay; that it’s just fun.
That’s just for the kids, but adults are just as susceptible to the dangers of gambling. For those in recovery a once innocent pastime such as being on a social media website has turned into something dangerous that threatens the recovery process.
Facebook makes their money through advertisements or so they say, but they also make money through the virtual credits that players can win. Here’s how it works.
Facebook actively promotes buying more credits whenever you click onto their games link. For games like Wheel of Fortune, $100,000 Pyramid or Deal or No Deal you only get one or two free games per day. People have been known to buy extra credits so they can play more often. In regards to the casino or card games you can only play with what you have and if you want to play more you have to buy more.
When there were other games on the website you could earn more tokens, but with their elimination anyone who wants to play the casino games is almost being forced to buy more tokens.
Facebook gets 30% of all purchased virtual credits (tokens). This is probably why they increased their gambling games and did away with the other games; most of the gambling games pretty much mandate that virtual credits be purchased.
What? You didn’t actually think that the website did any of this for free did you?
It’s also difficult to stay away from any of the gambling games. If you try to do something totally innocent by sticking to non-gambling games such as Wheel of Fortune you are greeted every day by a slot machine in order for you to earn more tokens. Even after you do this a huge add comes up encouraging you to buy more tokens.
In addition any token you earn while playing the game can only be spent on that game. You can’t transfer it to a casino game.
For awhile Facebook has been a pretty unstoppable train and by the looks of things it’s not going to stop anytime soon. They are currently in negotiations with other countries such as Great Britain and Asia to have online gambling through their website.
They have been able to creatively dodge the bullet when it comes to the United States Gaming Commission and come within a quarter of an inch of breaking the law, but who knows if that will soon change especially if the government sees that they can make money off of it as long as there are really tight restrictions or so they’ll claim.
So the question should be to everyone is how comfortable are you with the fact that Facebook is willingly and freely affecting people’s lives? That they don’t have to take on any responsibility or accountability for what they do? How much are you willing to bet that Facebook will continue to push the envelope until the envelope is in their bank accounts?