Zynga could enter online gambling market

Facebook game maker Zynga could be set to expand its playbook, switching out curesy farm animals and cartoon mob bosses with real money and cards.

The game developer already runs Zynga Poker, where players can get virtual currency against one another. However, that could be about to change with Zynga looking to add the facility for real money betting to the table.

“Zynga Poker is the world’s largest online poker game with more than 7 million people playing every day and over 30 million each month,” a Zynga spokesperson said.  “We know from listening to our players that there’s an interest in the real money gambling market. We’re in active conversations with potential partners to better understand and explore this new opportunity.”

As AllthingsD points out though, if Zynga wants to get into the gambling game – online or otherwise – it will need to jump through some legal hoops before getting there. There’s licensing issues to consider, as well as the security of handling player’s real money, insurance concerns and more. Because of this it might not be surprising if the company – valued at several Billion dollars – buys up a smaller online gambling firm and uses it as a front for this side of its business.

On the other hand it could go it alone and use its Facebook casino platform as an expansion point. Gambling from within the social network would make it extremely accessible to a vaste audience with the potential for massive profits for the firm.

Poker isn’t the only planned attraction either, with Bingo said to be currently in development. This game has even grander possibilities for income improvement than Poker, since it’s a simpler game that can be played far more quickly and with less input from the user.

Zynga will have to be careful though, as it isn’t the only company loking into this. Double Down Interactive already runs Blackjack, Poker, Roulette and other games from within the social network. Now that it’s been bought by International Game Technology – one of the world’s largest video poker companies – it too has much potential for expansion.

 

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