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Zynga takes the first step toward real money gambling in the U.S.
Zynga takes the first step toward real money gambling in the U.S.
December 5, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

Real money online gambling isn't legal in the United States (yet), but Zynga's banking on the idea that it will be, and has taken its first step toward becoming a legal online casino.

The company filed an application for what's called a "Preliminary Finding of Suitability" from the Nevada Gaming Control Board which, if granted, will allow players from within the state to bet on its games using real money.

This doesn't mean that Zynga will begin offering this service anytime soon. The company anticipates that the application process will take between 12 and 18 months to complete, and that's just to be qualified to apply for an actual gaming license.

It's a small step for the company, but an important one in its eventual goal of creating a business around real money gambling in the United States.

Zynga will begin operating real money gambling games in the UK early next year.

"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," the company said in a statement.

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Michael Joseph
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"In conclusion, the enactment of A.B. 213 [Assembly Bill 213] and its implementing regulation not only demonstrates Nevada’s commitment to encouraging investment in its traditional gaming industry while not diminishing the stringent requirements for suitability, but also will position Nevada and its Regulators at the forefront of the interactive gaming industry in the U.S., should Congress legalize Internet gaming. "

So it does seem as if Nevada State has been preparing to be the hub of online gambling in the US. It remains to be seen whether that ever actually pans out. In the event it does, it still would require Zynga to beat out the invevitable online casinos sponsored by the likes of MGM, Ceasars, Tropicana, etc. I mean surely they are not going to just stand around letting folks like Zynga take over their turf? Furthermore, brick & mortar casinos would be able to offer more attractive online prizes such as vacation packages that tie into their live casino offerings.

Even Facebook would have an advantage over Zynga if FB were ever to allow private table creation for friends and family. Players could gamble without the seedy feeling of playing in a "real" online casino.

Torben Jorba
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You describe a perfect 'exit' option for Zynga: if they get the license, if the legal framework gets trough, and already having experience elsewhere in the world - they will become increasingly attractive to this gambling giants. Because they are up and running, have proprietary technology (cloud, browser, mobile) and already an user base they can start advertising to.

According to Wikipedia numbers, US Gambling is a 100 billion industry. Whoever would start betting on "the dog" he will need a truckload of chips.

Diana Hsu
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They're going to make so much money. :-/

Alan Rimkeit
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They will. That is the sad thing because there are always gambling addicts to take advantage of.

Cordero W
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From the first circle of hell to the second.

Doug Poston
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To defend my city's honor, gambling in Las Vegas is less sleazy than many social games.

For one thing, casinos *don't* target children with their slot machines and you're not forced to recruit your friends or watch ads to play.

In many ways, Las Vegas gambling is extremely honest: "Here's a bunch of flashy lights. Now give us your money." ;)

Joe McGinn
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It is somehow fitting though. A digital casino is the company Zynga always wanted to be.

Eric McConnell
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I'm calling it, Farmville 3 to have a real money horse track

Alan Rimkeit
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Bottom of the barrel Zynga. How does it smell way down there? Foul is my bet as on-line gambling is despicable.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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Bitter much?

Actual gambling is both more honest and entertaining than what Zynga is up to now. At least there is some genuine excitement in being able to win real-world money, and "gambling" also covers games of skill like poker.

Alan Rimkeit
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@Bisse Mayrakoira - Not bitter at all. Just have an opinion that gambling, especially on-line gambling, it despicable. But at least with in person gambling like in Las Vega there are people checking ID's. On-line there is nothing stopping people like teen agers can make huge mistakes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. A teen ager can steal a credit card from mom and dad, or apply for one themselves, and gamble away. This is a serious issue. Just do some research and you will see it for the truth.