London – Facebook is to offer betting on horse racing and football matches in a major expansion of its gambling operations.
The social networking site was criticised last year for launching a range of Las Vegas-style casino games with the promise of jackpots worth tens of thousands of pounds.
It already offers virtual slot machines for children as young as 13, with real money games advertised as soon as users are 18.
Last night it announced that it will begin offering sports betting under a lucrative deal with online bookmaker Paddy Power.
The game, called Paddy Power In-Play!, will be launched in the coming days. It will only be available in Britain, where gaming laws are more relaxed than in the US.
Both companies claim they have rigorous safeguards to prevent minors from accessing the game.
But critics have raised concerns that children could still access the online gambling pages, either by lying about their age or using a parent’s credit card.
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.’ – Daily Mail
Special thanks to http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/technology/internet/uk-to-get-sports-gambling-on-facebook-1.1545427 for this article.