Zynga Poker and Farmville creator, Zynga, is opting to make a move past the popular social gaming hits with an announcement this week that it is in the process of offering real-money gambling in the U.S.
PokerNews.com received a statement from Zynga noting that it has filed an "Application for a Preliminary Finding of Suitability" with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The process of determining if Zynga is suitable to hold a gaming license in the state could take 12 to 18 months for it to come to finalization.
The company's initial public offering last December shed three quarters of its market value hence the shift to real-money gaming. The company's free-play business model was under serious scrutiny when the IPO was initially priced at $10 per share but dropped on the first day. New forms of revenue streams are sought by the company to reverse the steep slide in sales of virtual goods and paid advertising.
Back in July Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said the real-money gambling market would be a "natural fit" for the company. A former executive at 888 Holdings, Maytal Olsha, was hired for the transition to head up Zynga's move to new markets.
"As we’ve said previously, the broader U.S. market is an opportunity that’s further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market," Zynga Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in the statement. "We’ve also recently partnered with bwin.party to bring the highest quality real money gaming experiences to our UK players in the first half of 2013."
Will online poker launch in Nevada? A dozen companies, including MGM, Boyd Gaming, the Golden Nugget, South Point, and Fertitta Interactive have already received interactive gaming licenses. Caesars Entertainment Interactive has received preliminary approval as of Wednesday for an online gambling license.