Social gaming company Zynga has made the leap into real-money casino games.
Last month, Zynga launched its “ZyngaPlusPoker” and “ZyngaPlusCasino” to U.K.-based players on the internet and as desktop applications. The company has developed poker and casino-style games through a partnership with bwin.party Digital Entertainment, the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling firm.
Zynga, which has applied for a Nevada gaming license, could be preparing itself for the introduction of real-money online gambling in the United States, which is currently approved in only three jurisdictions. With a player base of nearly 300 million, Zynga could emerge as one of the top casino game providers in the U.S. The company is expected to expand beyond the U.K. into other European markets this year.
Creators of the popular “FarmVille” and “CityVille” social media games on Facebook, Zynga began concentrating its efforts on casino-style games as its revenue slipped and its player base dwindled. In September 2012, Zynga hired Maytal Olsha, a former senior executive at 888 Holdings, to helm its expansion into the real-money market. Though the details of its partnership with bwin.party have not been disclosed, gaming analysts believe Zynga coveted the company’s U.K. license and its online expertise.
ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino will allow the company to gauge interest among its core users for online betting on everything from poker to blackjack and roulette. Zynga is expected to announce Facebook and mobile-based versions of the games in the near future.
“Our long term vision is to offer our players the next generation of real-money games on multiple platforms in regulated markets worldwide,” posted Zynga’s Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle.