Zynga Gets Serious About Real-Money Gambling
Zynga is headed into 2013 with some very big bets on real money gambling and staking much of the company’s future on its ability to get players to play its slots and casino games for real money.
Zynga was the darling of the social gaming world after a high-profile IPO that raised $1 billion but the company’s stock price cratered over the next year as it saw its revenue growth drop dramatically for many of its core games such as FarmVille and CityVille.
One of the few bright spots for the company has been its Zynga Poker game. One of the first games it developed, Zynga Poker is on track to pull in over $200 million in revenues for 2012 with nearly all that money coming from players using real money to buy extra play chips in the free game.
The company had initially been reluctant to enter the tricky waters of real-money gambling but a dismal 2012 left Zynga little choice.
It doubled down on its game development efforts -- focusing on adding new slots and bingo games -- and began looking for partners to offer real money gambling in international markets where it is legal.
The company wasn’t done, though, applying for a license in Nevada to potentially offer real money poker to Nevada residents if its application is approved.
Zynga also bulked up its patent portfolio for real-money online gambling by acquiring over 30 patents and developing more itself related to various aspects of casino gambling and related technology.
Rolling out real-money poker, slots and bingo games in 2013 likely won’t immediately reverse Zynga’s fortunes -- and they come with plenty of obstacles, both technical and legal -- but new revenue streams could help the company reverse its recent fortunes and generate a little investor excitement once again.
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