Facebook Using McDonald’s Marketing Tactics To Atrract Underage Gamblers

Our daily lives are being largely controlled by online technology which means that our daily activities are largely done remotely. The need to pay bills or purchase items in person is no longer necessary. With mobile devices like smartphones and tablets becoming part of our fashion accessories has meant that we largely control when and how we choose to conduct our lives online.

This phenomenon has impacted the gambling industry heavily as so many of us spend hours online instead of running around to perform daily chores. Social networks like Facebook have never been so popular and with over a billion users it is the biggest social meeting place in the world. There is not a single person who does not communicate with someone on Facebook and the age groups involved include many children who are addicted to updating their status and “liking” their favorite sites.

Facebook has up till recently been a simple global playground where the rules were pretty simple. Everything on there was free and fun and there was no need to monitor your children when they engage in their chosen games and apps. Many of these apps are what are called free-to-play games which are often based on traditional casino games. Games like Zynga Poker and Slotomania are just two examples of some of the most popular games on Facebook. At initial glance these games look pretty harmless as everything is played with virtual currency and no real money being exchanged.

This status quo was broken when Facebook decided to start offering real money gambling in August with their Bingo Friendzy game being offered in the UK for real money. Many believed that Facebook would never cross the line from being a social network to becoming actively involved in what is nothing less than real money gambling. This barrier was further broken last week when 888 announced that they will be offering a real money slots an later other casino games on Facebook.

This transition by Facebook has drawn much criticism from anti gambling proponents. We reported way back in August just after Bingo Friendzy was launched at what many call the “Trojan Horse” of what many term social casino games. Concerned parents and social groups are warning at the real possibility of young children who play these social casino games becoming addicted to the real thing. This is a real concern as there is no difference in the way the real money and free-to-play casino games look and feel.

Many have attacked the marketing of Facebook and have even compared their marketing tactics with that of the global food giant McDonald’s.It is no secret that McDonald’s are firm favorites with millions of children all over the globe. The reason for this is not always the food on offer but rather the enticing environment whereby the food is offered. This often includes toys and special children’s gifts which are part of the food order. In fact many McDonald’s outlets feature children’s playgrounds which ensures that the parents accede to the child’s request when choosing where to eat. In fact there are many children who beg their parents to buy them McDonald’s just for the toys and accessories that accompany them.

This controversial strategy by McDonald’s has been adapted and played with by Facebook according to critics. Despite strict controls imposed on real money gambling, there are no controls on the social casino gaming on Facebook. This is seen as a potential ticking time bomb which Facebook has yet to diffuse. How will it be possible to prevent children who enjoy social casino games from wanting to play the real thing when given the choice. More over it is well known that players win much more frequently in the free-to-play versions of casino games. Many believe that this would be the case with real money gambling which is not the case.

Anti gambling activists are asking themselves if it is not too late to remove “The Trojan Horse” of social casino games as they are already a firm reality in the market place. Just like McDonalds’ there is a real danger attracting young consumers with dubious marketing tactics and strategies which are certain to create a health problem with McDonald’s and a gambling problem with Facebook.

As responsible online gamblers we believe that these concerns should be addressed and that children under the age of 18 should be kept out of any publicity and marketing campaign which are aimed at creating addicts in the long run. All reputable online gaming sites have strict guidelines and procedures which minimize this risk and ensure a safe and responsible gaming environment for all.

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