17 Sep

Facebook Sportsbook Coming to Social Media?

Sports Betting on Facebook App? Don’t be surprised by it!

Ahh, Facebook… The king of social media apps. The interactive home of more than 2.85 billion – yes, billion – active monthly users. That’s more than one-third of the earth’s entire population.

Sports Betting on Facebook App? Don’t be Surprised When it HappensWhen we think of Facebook, we think of connections with friends and family; we think of good times, and all the photo albums we’ve created to share those memories; we think of ‘thumbs-up’ likes, expressive emojis, silly memes and animated GIFs. What we don’t really think about is betting on the outcome of our favorite sports or reality televisions series. But that may soon change.

Yes, it would seem even Facebook may be considering a plunge into the legal sports gambling pool. They haven’t announced such intentions – in fact, they’ve denied it – but their latest addition of “free, simple prediction games” would certainly suggest otherwise.

The company recently integrated Facebook Fantasy Games, giving users the option to predict certain sports and reality TV results I a socially competitive setting. If it takes off, don’t be surprised when it evolves into a complete Facebook Sportsbook package.

Sports Betting on Facebook – Why Not?

As the world’s most popular social media outlet, it only makes sense that Facebook would look to enter the fastest-growing market of recent years. It’s already legal in most overseas countries. The United States legalized sports betting in 2018. Since then, about half the country has moved to regulate, with half a dozen more states currently pushing bills through the legislature. Over the summer, Canada amended its federal laws, allowing provinces to regulate single-game betting for the first time.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has proven his ability to follow and capitalize on developing trends. Why wouldn’t that be his goal with the launch of Facebook Fantasy Games? If not a goal, it at least gives the multi-billion dollar company the option to implement sports betting in the future.

What Facebook Fantasy Games Offer Now

Facebook Fantasy GamesOn September 1, Facebook announced the introduction of Facebook Fantasy Games. Rolling out across the US and Canada, the new feature is now available on the Android and iOS Facebook App. A press release announcing the launch says the game will “help fans enjoy sports, TV shows and pop culture content together.”

These games bring the social fun of traditional fantasy sports to simpler formats that are easy to play for people new to prediction games, while still engaging enough for more seasoned players.”

To make its prediction games more socially engaging, the segment comes with leaderboards and fantasy leagues, with the option to “compete against friends and other fans”. Leagues provide pick sharing, score comparisons, comments and reactions, with designations for public or private league groups.

From day one, the app went live with a daily sports prediction game called Pick & Play Sports. Throughout the Fall, a series of similar games will join the line-up. These will include games revolving around popular CBS and ABC network shows, Survivor and The Bachelorette, as well as Major League Baseball (MLB) and LaLiga Santander sports leagues.

Fantasy Reality TV on FB

Facebook’s Fantasy Survivor will allow fans to select a fantasy team of castaways and predict the answers to various questions about what will happen in upcoming episodes. Fantasy: The Bachelorette will run as a similar concept, where participants select from the group of men vying for the affection of this season’s bachelorette, Michele Young.

Fantasy Sports on Facebook

The MLB Home Run Picks game challenges players to pick the teams they believe will hit the most home runs that day, with extra points awarded for grand slams. In LaLiga Winning Streak, fans will attempt to choose one team that will win each day of the LaLiga Santander, with the ultimate goal of having the longest multi-day winning streak. The trick is, you can’t pick the same team two days in a row.

Facebook Denies Plans to Offer Betting

When asked if its new Facebook Fantasy Games will evolve into a real money sports betting product, a spokesperson for the social media juggernaut denied any such intentions. Facebook “does not have any current plans to offer betting,” reads a report in online betting media outlet, LSR. But it’s hard to believe Facebook isn’t targeting potential bettor acquisition with this new product. After all, the exact same marketing campaign was successfully employed by a number of the country’s biggest sportsbook operators.

Fox Bet operates the free to play Fox Sports Super 6 fantasy app. PointsBet (in conjunction with Boom Sports) owns and operates the free NBC Sports Predictor. Barstool Sports (in conjunction with Chalkline Sports) is the proud parent of Barstool Bets, an opinion forum and pick predicting service with free betting contests. Back in February, Bally’s scooped up the free prediction games operation, Sportcaller.

All of these companies are using their free-to-play (F2P) games to attract new players to their real money sports betting services, and its been an immensely successful campaign. In the last two years alone, Fox Sports Super 6 has seen its 5 million users submit nearly 100 million entries. That data base of players has a forecast worth of up to $1 billion. Over the next few years, Facebook could easily build a much larger data base from its estimated 200 million users in the US alone.

Facebook Sportsbook a “Pretty Big” Deal

Potential competitors aren’t dismissing Facebook’s entry into F2P fantasy games.

Chalkline Sports CEO Daniel Kustelski says, “It is pretty big that Facebook is now in the sports gaming space. “Everyone wants to build a database of sports fans that lean towards a bet. The first-party data captured during game play is a key value-driver for media companies like FB that want to partner with operators.”

There’s further evidence that Facebook will eventually put ink to pen with such partnerships. The company already has a number of standard advertising contracts with North American sports betting operators. It’s advertising contracts such as these that have turned the 17 year old social media group into one of the most successful internet-based companies of all time.

The most likely truth is that Facebook is preparing itself for a probable partnership in the years to come. The company is known for planning ahead. Facebook likes to build new products, spend months (if not years) perfecting them, then decide whether they are worth monetizing. That means it could easily be a couple more years before we see real money sports betting on Facebook.

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