1/21/2012 : Social gaming giant in talks with potential partners
Industry rumbles over the past few months on the possibility of an entry into the internet gambling sector by social gaming giant Zynga have been confirmed it seems by a company statement carried by Dow Jones-owned tech journal AllThingsD.com.
The article written by AllThingsD.com's senior editor confirms that the company is investigating several internet gambling opportunities and has entered into talks with several unidentified potential partners.
A Zynga spokesperson told the publication: "We build games and experiences that our players want and love. Zynga Poker is the world’s largest online poker game with more than 7 million people playing every day and over 30 million each month.
“We know from listening to our players that there’s an interest in the real money gambling market. We’re in active conversations with potential partners to better understand and explore this new opportunity.”
International Games Technology evidently recognises the cross-over potential between social network gaming and internet gambling with its recent acquisition of Seattle-based Double Down Interactive for a $500 million consideration.
However, business analysts aren't convinced a move into internet gambling would benefit Zynga immediately, saying the company would need to convert an increasingly larger percentage of users into payers in order to make significant growth in 2012.
Add to that the complicated state, national and international regulatory environments, licencing issues and the technology required to convert to a safe and secure monetized system, an internet gambling acquisition or partnership in the sector looks to be a more attractive option.
Sterne Agee Interactive entertainment analyst Arvind Bhatia called online gambling opportunities for Zynga "a long shot" saying: "First, it is not clear how soon, if ever, online gambling may be legalized in the US. In addition, we are not sure if Zynga has any big advantages in online gambling compared to established players. As such, the notion that Zynga could benefit from this is highly speculative, in our opinion."