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Here we go: Zynga to enter real-money gambling market
Here we go: Zynga to enter real-money gambling market
July 25, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 25, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    16 comments
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing



Social game giant Zynga announced today that it's decided to expand beyond free to play, microtransaction-based titles like FarmVille and Words With Friends, and has begun to develop games that support real-money gambling.

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said that the company plans to launch its first real-money poker game in the first half of 2013. He did not confirm which regions the game will support, but it might be some time until these types of games hit the U.S., as federal laws put strict limitations on online gambling.

"We have our first [real-money gambling] products in development, and we intend to release them in markets that are regulated and open, subject to our getting licensing," Pincus said. "The U.S. is obviously an attractive market, but it's not an open and regulated market today, so we currently don't have plans for the U.S."

Alongside this news, Zynga revealed that its revenues for its recent second quarter fell well below initial expectations. For more information, check out Gamasutra's full report.


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Comments


E McNeill
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Here we go, indeed.

Lars Doucet
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Wow. You just can't make this stuff up.

Gary LaRochelle
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"subject to our getting licensing"

If getting a license is anything like trying to get a license in the US, they (Zynga's management) will have to go through background checks. Some of Pincus' earlier exploits* may be a problem.


*http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-09-08/news/farmvillains/

Andrew Traviss
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Well at least in this case there's a chance that their Skinner boxes will spit out something with real world value.

Doug Poston
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Only to the company shareholders and a few token users.

Nooh Ha
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This is not exactly a surprise; they have been talking about this as an inevitability every since Zynga Poker took off..

Duong Nguyen
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I eagerly await the Congressional Hearings. Anyone trusting Zygna or any other un-regulated industry/company with real money gambling is gonna get what they deserve, which is a massive population of gambling addicts and rigged games. With the instant flow of information afford by these web games, making a gambling addict is as easy as 1,2,3 and of course the odds arn't rigged your suppose to lose 60.2% of the time..

Doug Poston
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I agree, un-regulated this would be a nightmare.

But the current casinos (at least here in Las Vegas) already have an instant flow of information to use to their advantage.* So I don't think it would be much different in that respect.

*(I'm mostly thinking slot machines and video poker not the "physical games" like Blackjack and Poker.)

Ed Macauley
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Legality aside, do you *really* trust Zynga with your money? Hell, do you trust *any* Internet gambling site with your money?

Doug Poston
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I wouldn't, but millions of other people do.

$21 billion dollars in 2009.
( http://www.indiangaming.org/info/alerts/Spectrum-Internet-Paper.p
df )

John Trauger
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This sends a cold shudder down my back.

I really don't want our kind of gaming blurred with gambling-type gaming. That has "Bad Thing Category" written all over it.

Zach Grant
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What is wrong with setting up legal online gambling? I have a friend who is a professional poker player. I'm sure he will be ecstatic to find out that a publicly traded US company is providing a paid online poker option. Since the US government shut down all the US sites, he's gotten ripped off trying to make his living on foreign sites.

I haven't played Zynga games or even like the company, but I can barely stand the frothing people are doing over this Company every news story.

Doug Poston
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IMHO it would be great for a US company to be able to set up a legal, US-regulated (and taxed), online gambling service.

The reason why I think most people don't want that company to be Zynga is because of its perceived history of playing fast and loose with the rules.

I think it would be better to give that control to a company that has a history of dealing with the current regulations. Companies like Bally, Shufflemaster, etc.

Michael Joseph
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Zynga is coming out of it's gangsta closet and obviously doesn't care about it's reputation or how it's perceived. That alone should give people pause.

Admittedly it wouldn't be quite as bad as Walt Disney Pictures getting into the online p0rn industry... but still... mixing supposedly family friendly game production with the undisputed vice that is gambling is pretty brash.

They should change their slogan to "We're Zynga and we just don't give a ****!" Next up they'll be introducing live pay-per-view peep shows and outcall 'game dates' with their stable of lovely h... I mean selection of registered companions.


And I would be *shocked* if they were able to obtain gaming licenses that allowed them to leverage their existing non-gambling user base directly by having both types of games on the same site (or even links and incentives between the two). That's like selling powdered sugar cigarettes in a tobacco store in the dystopian future of today. And without this ability to leverage their current users, I'm not sure how they'll compete with established gambling sites in their respective countries.

So Zynga really sounds desperate right now to release ANY kind of news. Otherwise it's an admission they have no answers going forward except more of the same...

Sean Kiley
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I'm fine with this. Gambling gets a bad stigma but it can be fun. There are always people that take things too far like drinking, smoking, watching tv, gambling, etc. But hey, just because there are idiots out there doesn't mean things like this* should happen to the rest of us.

*http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/jul/07/knox-deputies-raid-bexhi
ll-subdivision-poker-game/?partner=popular

Zach Grant
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Haha, that is the most pathetic waste of law enforcement I have seen this week. The previous was myself getting a ticket for going 6 over the speed limit last week. Power and greed can destroy people.


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