Social media and online casinos are two of the biggest web phenomena today. Twitter and Facebook have taken the entire digital world by storm, letting people through any corner of the globe get in touch with each other over common interests. Considering that one of the most active communities in the internet is the online gaming community, it was only a matter of time before both of these worlds collided. And now, online casino providers are finding ways to integrate social networking mass media apps into their sites.
ShoutBox is a social networking app launched by Bwin, and it is becoming very successful, allowing online players to chat amongst themselves while playing casino games online. The app allows players to invite contacts to try online games and participate in online tournaments, for example slots or poker tournaments. On the internet gambling experts believe that this type of online community will become an integral part of the online casino of the future.
Online wagering sites that have not really installed their own social media apps use existing social networking sites to keep current players interested and to bring new ones on board. Twitter accounts and Facebook Fan pages are ways casino operators expand their reach, by using advertising promotions and responding to questions quickly. There are even games upon Facebook, such as Zynga Poker, that will web casinos use to drum up interest in their sites. Such social media tournaments allow players to compete for free while encouraging them to go to the owner’s gambling website.
But whilst Facebook is extraordinarily popular around the globe, in the UK, it is not as popular since online gambling itself. A the year 2010 survey by Nielsen reported that in the UK, the number of internet gamers improved by 40% over the previous year, while the increase in UK use of social networking was significantly lower.
The UK is really a world leader in online betting, so the numbers are not that amazing. Other European countries are following carefully on their heels as most of European countries now has regulated web gambling. When the numbers are broken down, it is clear that middle aged guys account for most of the increase in UK online wagering numbers, though women are big fans too, with online poker and bingo being the most popular games among the British.
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Because so many of the internet gamers in Britain are middle aged, and because so many Facebook customers tend to be younger, it may be that the mix of social networking and gambling won’t occur on as large a scale until the casinos themselves build online community into the sites themselves.
Additionally , when the US eventually regulates online gambling, making it clearly legal rather than residing in a somewhat vague legal position as it does in 2010, a number of UK gambling companies are poised to apply for permit to operate in the US, and this should get married to online gaming to social networking much more strongly.