Real Money Gambling on Facebook

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Real Money Gambling on FacebookGame developer Zynga announced plans to bring online gambling franchises to Facebook in the United Kingdom. What could this mean for online bingo players and gamblers in the US? Many think Zynga's move could clear the way for legalized online gambling in the United States. In the US legalization has taken place on a state by state basis. So far three states have legalized online gambling and ten states are discussing the legalization of internet gambling.

Zynga, the social gaming company famous for games like Farmville and Mafia Wars announced that the company plans to bring its platform to Facebook. Currently online is illegal in the US except for three states (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey) so Zynga has formed a partnership with British gaming firm to release two games in the UK. If the venture is successful it could pave the way for the legalization of real money online gaming in the US.

In April Zynga introduced "ZyngaPlusPoker" and "ZyngaPlusCasino" and the company plans to release Facebook and mobile apps in the near future. Currently Facebook users in the UK and the US can "gamble" but not with real money. People playing the Facebook version of "Zynga Poker" may purchase chips but do not receive any payouts. In the real money games Facebook users will be taken to a new interface managed by Bwin. Players must verify their age and that they live in a country where internet gambling is legal.

Zynga hopes to convert their large userbase to real money gaming. These potential gamblers are part of a demographic that is willing to play online games for extended periods of time. At Zynga the need for innovation and new revenue streams is urgent. Since Zynga's IPO in 2011 the company has cut its workforce by 18%. Zynga has also closed several offices and its stock price has fallen as low as $2.50 in December. Zynga has hired a top gambling executive and has sealed the partnership with Bwin. The British company has extensive experience in running online gambling operations and dealing with regulators.

Zynga executives hope real money online gaming will change the company's fortunes. In the UK online gambling generates $3.4 billion annually. Morgan Stanley estimates that if online gambling becomes legal in the US the industry could generate $9.3 billion annually by 2020.

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