The First Signs of Zynga’s Online Gambling Efforts Go Live in the U.K.

Zynga is close to launching its real-money gaming efforts in the U.K., according to two landing pages launched today.

ZyngaPlusCasino_comingsoon

Zynga Plus Poker and Zynga Plus Casino are both viewable in the U.S., but once it goes live, players will have to be located in the U.K. and over the age of 18 to legally play.

Right now, the sites are being used primarily as a marketing tool to get the word out and to start collecting email addresses ahead of the official launch.

A Zynga spokeswoman declined to comment.

One thing that’s noticeable is how much social is being emphasized. The tag lines for the respective sites are “Casino For The People” and “Poker For The People.”

Today’s launch shows that Zynga is making at least some progress on its promise of expanding into online games where players can win and lose real money, from its core business of selling virtual goods on Facebook. Both sites say that the games will go live in early 2013, which lines up with what Zynga’s CEO Mark Pincus had previously promised.

In October, the San Francisco company announced an exclusive partnership with bwin.party, which enables it to launch a real-money gaming site in the U.K. The casino site is expected to launch with 180 games, including slots, roulette and blackjack. Additionally, Zynga’s FarmVille brand is expected to be used for one of the slot games.

For now, Zynga’s casino ambitions will have to be limited to markets where gambling has been legalized. It has filed an “Application for a Preliminary Finding of Suitability” in Nevada, but the process could take up to 18 months. If Zynga is found suitable, a license could take another two to three months. Even then, it still would only be allowed to operate online in one state.

During its last conference call, Zynga declined to say how much revenue the real-money gaming sites could generate, but based on the company’s current stock price, it seems investors are being cautious. Zynga’s shares fell 5 cents, or two percent, today to $2.33 a share.


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