ynga now offers online poker, slot machines, blackjack, and other games. The company is partnering with bwin.party, the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling company, which reported a profit of over $32 million in 2012 and is based in Gibraltar, a British exclave bordering Spain.
“Launching the download and web versions of Zynga’s real money games for play in the UK is an exciting move to bring players the real money games they have been asking us for,” wrote Barry Cottle, the company’s chief revenue officer, on a company blog on Tuesday evening.
“We look forward to launching our social versions of real money games for players on Facebook and mobile in the UK throughout 2013,” Cottle added.
Shareholders responded very positively: Zynga’s stock is up about 15 percent on the day. This new announcement and stock surge are some much-need positive news for the beleaguered social gaming company.
Given the company’s recent setbacks, Zynga really needs a win—and if that comes via real people gambling real money, then all the better.
“There is still a stigma attached to gambling where some users are more prone to spend more real (or virtual) money so some caution is needed from Zynga and users to make sure users don't get into situations beyond their control,” Brian Blau, an industry analyst with Gartner Research, told Ars.
“But for users that just want to enjoy a few simple games of slots or poker, real money gaming is a way to get your fix, and with Zynga's games you can share your results, play with friends, and have a more social experience similar to what you would find a real world casino.”
James Cakmak, a financial analyst at the Telsey Advisory Group, generally agreed—and he was overall bullish on Zynga’s prospects over the longer-term.
“I think you're probably looking at 2014 or 2015 before [this move is] reflected in [Zynga's] bottom line,” he told Ars.
“I think it's a really good story right now, but I don't expect the bwin.party partnership to provide any meaningful contribution to the company's finances over near-term. The most important takeaway is going to be the knowledge that Zynga can leverage [online gambling] for the US.”