First it was Facebook with the Gamsys deal and now Zynga has decided it needs to get into the "real" gambling business in the UK.
The following quote is an extract from the Washington Post one of the financial news letters that follows Zynga's financial statements."The company is trying to convince investors that it can revive growth, and on Wednesday said that it’s signed a deal to offer online poker and casino games, played with real money, in the U.K. It plans to launch those games in the first half of 2013."
There is nothing really special about this announcement as most people in the social gaming industry were waiting for this announcement.
However, there are more questions then answers now that Zynga has announced its intention to get into the "real" money Internet gambling business.
Real Money Poker Platform -What platform is Zynga going to launch its real money poker on? Zynga has been scouring the globe for "real" money poker platforms and they have also hired "real" money poker techies within their teams. So, what will it be? A third party real money poker platform or a modification of their current social poker?
Zynga Social Casino Games - Also, Zynga is not really known for its social casino games. So what are they going to do in this space? Buy, build, etc.
Within Facebook Or Outside Of Facebook - Are they going to launch the games in Facebook or outside of Facebook? Gamsys is within Facebook with most UK players that have experienced the Facebook gambling offering describing it as underwhelming. Will Zynga take the easy route and do the same or will they finally free themselves from Facebook and launch independently?
Facebook Social Gambling Game Cross Over - There has been much speculation and debate about the potential for up selling Facebook social gambling game players into "real" gambling games. If any company is poised to pull this off it is Zynga with its large liquidity social poker audience and the realization that "real money" poker players currently play Zynga poker. It is certainly tempting and makes sense to make a go at it to jump start real money Zynga gambling.
Preparing For US Legal Internet Gambling - Zynga has millions of US players playing their poker game. When and if US Internet gambling becomes legal again Zynga will perhaps be the most well positioned company to take advantage of it by up selling their current Facebook poker players into "real" gambling. Even if the conversion rate is relatively low the overall numbers of converted players will be in the millions. This does not bode well for Euro gambling operators wanting to kick start their struggling Euro businesses with US poker players.
Clearly, we have more questions then answers at this time. However, it is a relief to hear that Zynga is finally getting into the "true" gambling business. We do not have to speculate anymore. This move will inevitably change the iGaming industry in a significant way and influence the impending legalization of Internet gambling in the US.