What Does Facebook’s Ad Network Mean for Mobile, Social Gaming?

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What Does Facebook's Ad Network Mean for Mobile, Social GamingOn Wednesday morning in San Francisco at its F8 conference, Facebook unveiled its new mobile ad network called Facebook Audience Network (FAN).

As expected, the ad network will help developers make money without having to sell their own ads.

In the coming months, developers will have the opportunity to integrate code to run FAN in banner ads.

“Facebook ads work because they’re personal, relevant and easy to measure on both desktop and mobile,” Facebook says. “The Audience Network brings these same powerful features to additional app-based mobile experiences, giving marketers even more scale for their Facebook campaigns.”

With social mobile and real money games becoming popular around the world, what will this new platform mean for the growth of the social gaming industry?

In short, experts say, the ability to monetize apps and drive installs across a host of app and social gaming categories certainly won’t do any harm. In fact, as legalized mobile gaming expands in the states, Facebook’s new mobile ad network could help support the industry’s growth.

For Facebook users in the United States, real-money online casino and social games have never been available. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t readily available through Facebook elsewhere in the world. As it turns out, Facebook is an emerging titan of real money online gambling.

In the U.K, for example, Facebook added real money gambling to its offerings just over a year ago. “Until recently,” The Street reported in January, “it was limited to bingo and online slots but now, through a partnership with Zynga, Facebook users in the U.K. can play online poker for real money.”

None of the games are available in the U.S. yet. Legal hurdles including the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 have, until recently, kept almost all forms of online gambling outside of lottery ticket sales underground and offshore. After the U.S. Department of Justice clarified (essentially reversed) its stance on Internet gaming, states started testing the waters with intrastate licenses.

But as federal legislation authorizing real-money online gambling could be introduced and potentially enacted within the next 12-36 months, might Facebook become the ultimate online gambling destination for Americans?

Unlike the smaller online gambling outfits that are presently restricted to the markets in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, Facebook’s mammoth reach across the U.S. and its pervasive marketing muscle could light a fire under the overall domestic online gambling market.

For now, Facebook has provided few clues with regard to its wishes or future plans for online gambling in the United States.

Do you expect the social networking giant to aggressively pursue opportunities in this market? And, perhaps more importantly, should they?

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