independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Zynga to take a punt on Vegas business

SOCIAL gaming company Zynga, which employs more than 100 people in Dublin, wants to open a gambling business in Las Vegas.

The company, which is best known for games such as Farm-ville that are played online, mostly within Facebook, has made a preliminary application to the Nevada Gaming Control Board that would allow it to offer "real money gaming" in the state.

The move is a first step to Zynga becoming a bona fide gambling business. Up to now, most of the games it runs allow users to buy "credits" inside a game, but this moves beyond that.

The application will take around 18 months to be finalised by the Nevada authorities.

Zynga's chief revenue officer, Barry Cottle, said the move "continues our strategic effort to enter the regulated RMG (real money gaming) markets in a prudent way".

"As we've said previously, the broader US market is an opportunity that's further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market," he said.

Among the issues Nevada authorities look at will be Zynga's track record for good behaviour as a company, while they are also likely to assess the type of games Zynga will want to run.

Zynga's move comes as it seeks greater scope for raising revenue amid what has been a contracting market for its games.

Farmville was once one of the most popular games on Facebook but its popularity has since plummeted and the company has struggled to replicate its success.

Shares in the firm have slumped, falling from nearly $16 a year ago to just under $2.50 now.

Irish Independent

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