Zynga May Partner in Online Gambling Venture

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Feb/29/2012
Zynga May Partner in Online Gambling Venture

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones)--Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) Chief Executive Mark Pincus said Wednesday he sees "mind blowing" possibilities for weaving real-money gambling into social games pending regulatory changes in the U.S., and suggested the company may partner with a traditional casino company before the end of this year.

Pincus, speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, said his San Francisco-based company sees a great deal of opportunity "to start to bring this gambling element into more than just casino games."

"The amount of innovation you're going to see around gambling as an entertainment mechanic is going to be mind blowing," he said.

Zynga's CEO suggested the company may partner with traditional casino firms such as Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN)--where Pincus mentioned he once won enough money in a single sitting to buy himself a "fancy watch."

"We're definitely talking to all of the players that you would suspect," Pincus said, adding, "We have incredible respect and admiration for brands and groups like the Wynn... I would expect that you'll see a lot of these players kind of figure out their go-to-market partnerships for sure before the end of this year."

Pincus's comments come as several states consider allowing online gambling, and large casino companies press the federal government to allow online poker networks.

Pincus noted that real money gaming would be a natural fit for Zynga, which already draws tens of millions of players to its Zynga Poker game.

Unlike current games such as Zynga Poker, real money gambling games would involve more than just virtual currency that cannot be converted into cash.

-By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; john.letzing@dowjones.com

 

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