Zynga out of USA online gambling

New CEO makes a big change as company loses 40 percent of monthly active users Making headlines everywhere late Thursday was the news that social gaming giant Zynga has abandoned its ambitions to dominate any legalized US real money online gambling market.

New CEO Dan Mattick made the tough call, backed by company founder Mark Pincus, but the announcement triggered another up to 16 percent drop in the share price as disappointed and alarmed investors who had counted on success in real money internet gambling to right the troubled company reacted. Zynga is now around 70 percent of its IPO pricing.

Mattick told analysts and reporters that the company has lost 40 percent of its monthly active users in the second quarter alone, and needed to get back to basics…and he warned that investors can expect between two and four quarters of volatility before the company settles on the new course.

In a company statement, Mattick announced: “Zynga is making the focused choice not to pursue a license for real money gaming in the United States. Zynga will continue to evaluate all of its priorities against the growing market opportunity in free, social gaming, including social casino offerings.” The announcement will presumably not affect Zynga online gambling ventures in Britain and Europe. Mattick's decision coincided with a disappointing set of results from the company, where performance continued to correlate with low expectations in the market.

The Q2-2013 reports noted that:

  • Revenues dropped 31 percent y-o-y to $231 million
  • Active monthly player declined to 187 million (Q2-2012: 306 million) – Zynga's lowest since mid-2010. Monthly web numbers were 129 million and mobile was at 57 million.
  • A 1 cent per share loss, compared with a 1 cent profit a year ago.
  • $188 million in bookings – a measure of the value of virtual goods bought by players during the three-month period ending June 30, and a 38 percent drop from Q2-2013's $302 million.
  • Monthly unique payers were 1.9 million, down from 4.1 million a year ago and down 22 percent from the previous quarter.
  • On the plus side, the company has $1.5 billion in cash and investments, and Zynga’s average daily bookings per average daily user grew from $0.046 in the second quarter 2012 to $0.053 in the second quarter 2013, up 14 percent from a year ago.
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