Zynga launches real-money gambling in the UK to counter decline in revenue

Zynga, the name synonymous with several popular Facebook games, has decided to make an entry into real-money gambling and has begun offering poker and casino-style gambling games in the UK.

The company will be launching the two games – ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino – in partnership with bwin.party Digital Entertainment, a Reuters report said.

The ZyngaPlusPoker website

The ZyngaPlusPoker website


Despite the popularity of games such as Farmville, Zynga has seen a decline in revenues as users move away to other games in the wake of the mobile gaming revolution. Zynga won’t be alone in being accused of being caught unaware by the change in mobile computing, but the company hopes to recover at least some of the lost revenue with the two new games. Then there is the fact that the Zynga Poker game is the top grossing app on Google Play Store, so it's not like Zynga is totally clueless about mobile gaming. Zynga got serious about investing in the real-money gambling market when it hired Maytal Olsha from 888, an online betting giant, last year to helm the expansion into the real-money market.

ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino will be available on the web as well as through a desktop app. The two offerings will allow Zynga to understand what users think about online betting as well as learn their betting patterns. The games will be the test run for a Facebook-based version as well as future mobile-based games. Both the Facebook and mobile version of the games are expected to be announced in the coming few months. The company is expected to launch the games in other markets later this year.

"Our long term vision is to offer our players the next generation of real money games on multiple platforms in regulated markets worldwide," Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle wrote in a blog post earlier this week.

He added: “This is just the beginning for us and we're looking forward to seeing what our UK players think.

For Zynga, having nearly 300 million users in its database is a clear advantage in the cut-throat yet highly lucrative online gambling market that analysts estimate could be worth $30 billion this year. Zynga has not yet revealed the terms of its agreement with bwin.Party, the London-listed gambling company. Zynga could play the second fiddle when it comes to revenue sharing, as bwin holds the gambling license for Britain. Still, the launch of two new games should help soothe the nerves of wary investors and also comes as a positive development to focus on for Zynga after a topsy-turvy 2012.

Published Date: Apr 03, 2013 03:36 pm | Updated Date: Apr 03, 2013 03:36 pm