Facebook has caused controversy by offering real money Las Vegas-style casino games under a new deal with gaming company 888.
The social networking site and 888 have already promoted free gambling games for two years, but are now set to roll out online slot machines, roulette and blackjack, with gamers able to bet up to £500 using credit or debit cards.
They claim 630,000 people already play for free, and there is concern about the dangers real-money gambling on Facebook will have for teenagers.
Dr Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, said that among 11-15 year olds, “one of the major factors” that appeared to predict problem gambling was the playing of free games.
Facebook came under fire when it released a real money game called Bingo Friendzy, created by Gamesys, in August this year.
The Mothers’ Union voiced its opposition to the game, noting that “the site is clearly designed to appeal to a young audience.”
It added: “Whilst we acknowledge the age-verification system Gamesys has put in place, we are concerned that this may incentivise young people to find ways to access this site”.
A Facebook spokesman said at the time: “Real money gaming is a popular and well-regulated activity in the UK and we are allowing a partner to offer their games to adult users on the Facebook platform in a safe and controlled manner.”