In a recent blog post we examined how the tide of legalized sports betting has shifted thanks to new bipartisan legislation proposed by New Jersey Governor (R) Chris Christie and New York Senator (D) Tony Avella.
Now it seems the trend toward legalized gambling has made its way into the social media mainstream as well.
Which social media website is leading the way?
Earlier this week, Facebook unvelieved a new App called BettingSTAR, which allows users to bet on MLB and NBA games using “virtual currency.” This follows the launch of 90Live, a similar Facebook app which permits “virtual” gambling on European soccer.
In both cases, users can hone their sports gambling skills by betting on real games and then earn badges and coins as rewards which will appear on their BettingSTAR profile. In addition, BettingSTAR allows users to compete one-on-one with their friends and share their victories on their personal timeline.
According to Facebook, the BettingSTAR app already has over 23,000 users and is expected to add rugby, NHL and NFL to the ledger in the coming months.
Facebook is also using the popular “Subway Series” between the New York Mets and New York Yankees to promote its gambling based apps. More closely, users who correctly pick the winner of each game in the series will be entered in a pool where they will have the chance to win prizes such as Ipads, Ipod Nanos and Amazon gift cards.
Interesting to note is that Facebook’s official platform policy strictly states that users must agree “not to promote, or provide content referencing, facilitating, containing or using… online gambling, games of skill or lotteries, including online casinos, sports books, bingo or poker.”
In a 21st century world where advances and developments in technology are changing rapidly each day, how we use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace has come to reflect the state of public opinion on countless issues in our society.
With the unveiling of the BettingSTAR app, Facebook is making a strong statement that, while betting on sports is still not yet legal, the public stigma against gambling seems to be fading away. Instead of being taboo, sports betting is now being seen as a legitimate untapped market that the mainstream has come to accept, not deny.
Soon enough, it may be real money that users are betting with, not the virtual kind.