Real money online poker and casino games in the United Kingdom was the subject of an announcement made by bwin.party digital entertainment plc on October 24th. bwin.party and social gaming giant Zynga have teamed up to offer real-money games like poker, roulette, blackjack, and slots during the first half of 2013.
"Today's announcement is another example of our success in leveraging our assets through strategic blue-chip partners," said Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, co-CEOs of bwin.party, in a press release. "Zynga is the world's leader in social games with hundreds of millions of active players worldwide and a significant player base in the U.K. We are delighted to have been selected as their chosen partner for this important step in their evolution, and hope to expand our relationship into other products and markets."
The press release states that bwin.party's player liquidity pool will be joined by Zynga's real-money poker customers in the UK; Zynga will operate under bwin.party's Gibraltar gaming license and the UK based RMG service will be powered by the established operating platform, software, and related support of bwin.party.
Zynga has tossed around no small amount of noise about shifting to real-money gaming and confirmed that it was seeking partners for online gambling initiatives in January of this year. Zynga's stock dropping from its initially priced $10 per share to the present $2.12 per share may have raised some questions on the sturdiness of Zynga's free-play business model and further pushed the quest for a partner and the jump into real-money gaming.
CEO Mark Pincus said that the real-money gambling market would be a "natural fit" for Zynga when the company confirmed back in July that it would enter the market. Maytal Olsha, a former executive at 888 Holdings, was hired by Zynga last month. 888 Holdings runs real-money gambling operations in Europe and other regions where it is legal and Olsha has the background of senior vice president of regulated markets for 888. Zynga's move into new markets will be headed up by Olsha.
Poker agent Brian Balsbaugh told PokerNews.com that Zynga has "great potential to impact the industry either by becoming an RMG operator itself, or by forming strategic partnerships."
Zynga is the world's biggest online poker site and a partnership with the world's leading real-money gaming operator should prove to be a very successful and productive relationship.