Zynga applies for license to run real-money gambling in Nevada

Posted on Dec 6 2012 - 1:27am by Harvey

Zynga said that it has filed a preliminary application so it will be permitted to operate gambling games in Nevada, opening a potentially significant new market for the faltering social games maker.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board will determine if Zynga is qualified to conduct real-money gambling license, a move that would allow gamblers in the state to gamble with real money on Zynga’s popular games like Zynga Poker. This social networking game does not currently allow real money as bet. Instead, players can use virtual chips with no monetary value.

Zynga wants to grab whatever potential the gambling sphere in Nevada, and possibly in the whole country, can offer as it struggles to cope with the plummeting revenue from its once popular games like Farmville. Its other fading titles still provides a big chunk of the company’s sales.

Company Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle estimates that the entire process may take 12 to 18 months.

“As we’ve said previously, the broader U.S. market is an opportunity that’s further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market,” he said.

Along with other gaming industry rivals, Zynga is hoping for a favorable legislation across the country, opening a potentially lucrative new gaming market.

After the United States Justice Department declared last year that only on sporting events are online gambling illegal, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have started initializing moves for interactive gaming, a good baby step for a possible massive online gambling market, ranging from poker to lotteries.

Country-wide legislation for allowing online gambling is seen as years away at this time, though a nod in Nevada can be a significant early sign for Zynga to eventually follow through its nationwide aspirations.

The gaming company has told investors that focusing resources and effort in attaining real-money gambling can be the company’s badly needed revenue source, as more and more users abandon titles like CityVille, driving the company’s revenue to the ground and making its stock dive more than three quarters since last year.

Zynga slashed its 2012 entire year earnings forecast for the second time, while at the same time cutting off employees to decrease costs. Company CEO Mark Pincus asked investors to allow him to work on real-money gambling by giving him more time to turn the company around.

Last October, the same time that Pincus implored investors to work on new initiatives including real-money gambling, Zynga reached a deal with bwin.party, a gaming company based in Gibraltar, to offer casino games dealing with real money like slots and poker in the United Kingdom at the start of the first half next year.

source: reuters 

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