Zynga is looking to open up new revenue streams by taking a stab at online gambling. According to GigaOM, the San Fransisco-based company will release two new titles called ZyngaPlusCasino and ZyngaPlusPoker; the latter being a real-currency version of its original Facebook hit.
The announcements were made today at an event in Barcelona, in which the company described its implementation plan. Since online gambling is legal in the UK, this is where the apps will launch first. Currently, purely social versions of the apps can be accessed via Facebook; however, users who want to put down serious money will be taken to a special gambling portal hosted by established poker website Bwin.
Not unlike other gambling websites, app visitors will have to verify their age and location in order to gain entry. Once inside, users will also be given the chance to win promotional prizes that offer getaways to real hotels and casinos.
Although Zynga has currently set their sights on the UK market, an estimated $3.4 billion industry, the company eventually plans to offer services to the US. The main barrier to entry is the restricted gambling laws that have swept the nation. Nevertheless, new reports by Bloomberg say that Representative Peter King recently introduced a bill in June which could eliminate federal gambling regulations. These changes won’t happen in the immediate future, but in a few years we could see states setting their own rules.
As of now, the apps will only be offered on desktop platfroms, but an eventual mobile version is to be expected.