First reported by eGaming Review, Facebook has entered into “exploratory talks” with operators in hopes of launching real-money games in the United Kingdom as early as the first quarter of 2012.
Citing sources close to the matter, eGaming Review explains Facebook began discussions with “around 20 senior gaming experts, operators, consultants, affiliates and social gaming entrepreneurs, including executives from PokerStars, 888 and Gamesys, at the end of this summer.”
Facebook hopes to offer eight licences to as many operators, as the social networking giant looks to establish itself in regulated gambling markets. The company has reportedly hired a significant number of personnel to help launch real-money play in the UK, which it sees as a stepping-stone to other regulated markets.
According to eGaming Review, Gamesys, which operates the bingo brand JackpotJoy, and 888 are first in line for licenses. When this would happen, what payment solutions Facebook would use, and specific details on how revenues would be shared between the networking site and gaming operators, has yet to be revealed.
Facebook recently relaxed its advertising rules pertaining to online gambling. Both online and land-based gambling concerns can now advertise on Facebook as long as they comply with local laws and obtain consent from the network.
Initial Public Offering
Facebook is also considering raising $10 billion in an initial public offering that would value the social networking site at more than $100 billion, and would place a value of around $125 on each of its 800 million users. The company is expected to file for floatation before the end of the year.
Facebook, like any US company, is required to file financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when the number of private shareholders exceeds 500. Facebook has indicated that it will hit that number by the end of 2011, which means the company will have to file with the SEC by April 30, 2012—public or private.
According to reports, Facebook decided to wait until 2012 for its IPO to give chief executive Mark Zuckerberg more time to gain users and sales.
The IPO will be the largest for any technology concern. The current record holder, Infineon Technologies AG, raised $5.23 billion in 1999; Facebook’s rival, Google, raised $1.67 billion in its 2004 floatation.
With Facebook’s $100 billion valuation, Zuckerberg would be worth $24 billion.
Facebook declined to comment when contacted by PokerUpdate.