Zynga and Facebook Stepping Up Real-Money Gambling Efforts
Social media giants Zynga and Facebook have both been making waves in recent weeks regarding their plans to enter the world of real-money gambling.
Each company is looking to online poker and casino games as a way to boost sagging stock prices and prove to investors and the world that future growth is in the cards for them.
Facebook was the first of the two to launch an app that lets Facebook users gamble for real money, introducing a Bingo Friendzy app that lets UK residents over the age of 18 play bingo for real money via Facebook.
Facebook was careful to point out that Bingo Friendzy was developed in conjunction with London-based online gambling operator Gamesys.
Gamesys will handle all the development work for the app and Facebook will merely take a cut of the revenue generated -- the same model it uses with other Facebook apps.
Zynga’s cratering stock price -- down nearly 80% since its IPO -- has added impetus to its own entry into the world of real-money gambling.
As recently as December 2012 the company was insisting it had no plans to wade into the potentially tricky waters of online gambling. That changed dramatically in early 2012 when CEO Mark Pincus publicly stated that online gambling was being pursued and very much a priority.
Zynga has been looking for partners to offer real-money gambling games in international markets where it is legal. Pincus recently promised that Zynga would launch real-money games by the first half of 2013.
Zynga also revealed that is has begun contributing money to lobbying groups working in the US as part of a push to legalize some online gambling games -- primarily poker -- on both the federal and state levels.
While Zynga’s contribution of just $75,000 to these efforts is relatively small potatoes it does signal the company’s interest and commitment to entering the world of online gambling in international markets as well as in the US.