Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Since becoming a public company, Facebook desperately needs to find new revenue streams and lessen its total reliance on display advertising – as more of its users access the service via their smartphones where such ads don’t really work. Now Emma Barnett writes that Facebook has teamed up with an online gambling company to take its members’ cash allowing users to gamble on the social network using cash for the first time. "An awful lot of people are not opposed to gambling, but do not have the desire to hang out with their friends in a virtual betting shop," writes Barrett. "With the British high street battling against the growing number of betting shops springing up and creating anti-social zones, I am sure most Facebook users are not looking for a similar situation to appear on their social network of choice." Facebook's online gambling has also provoked an outcry from Christian groups, who charge that its cartoon branding breaches rules designed to protect children. “Gambling is age-restricted for a reason: children are excluded because they are vulnerable,” says Toby Scott, director of communications for the Methodist Church. “It is especially concerning that Bingo Friendzy’s visual marketing is the kind that you see in children’s games, with bright colors and friendly characters. Facebook slot machines will also soon appear, as will several poker apps for the social network. "The addition of gambling to Facebook is not something I imagine the social network’s founder and chief, Mark Zuckerberg, could justify as a real benefit for users," concludes Barrett. "Facebook must tread carefully and not put commercial interests ahead of user experience in its bid to please Wall Street too often, otherwise the balance will tip and the users will leave.""
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