Zynga looks to foray into online gambling in Nevada

The social-gaming giant took its first step in getting a gaming license in Sin City's home state.

Zynga could soon start replacing virtual currency with real money in its online games. Zynga

We've heard of betting with virtual currency in Zynga Poker, but how about playing with some bona fide dollar bills?

Zynga made its first move to create real-money gambling games in the U.S. by filing its initial application with the Nevada Gaming Control Board yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now, the board has to decide whether Zynga will be allowed to hold a gaming license in the state.

The social-gaming giant has made no secret that it'd like to get into the world of real-money gambling. In fact, in October it announced a deal with the U.K.-based poker company Bwin.party digital entertainment to offer online poker and casino games for cash in the U.K. The deal plans to bring 180 casino games -- including poker, slots, roulette, and blackjack -- in the first half of 2013.

"Bringing together Zynga's expertise in social gaming with the top international real money gaming operator is the best way to create the highest quality gaming experiences for our players in the UK," Zynga's executive vice president of Corporate and Business Development Barry Cottle said in a statement announcing the deal.

At this point, Zynga seems to be scrambling for new revenue streams. Wall Street sent the game developer's stock tumbling to a new all-time low these past few months as it lost $52.7 million for the third quarter that ended on September 30. As a consequence, the company has announced major layoffs and ended several of its games.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Nevada Gaming Control Board will make its decision sometime in a year to 18 months. It's unclear how long after an affirmative decision that Zynga would be able to get a gaming license there. Also, there are several other U.S. regulatory obstacles that could derail the process.

CNET contacted Zynga for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.


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