Zynga Antes Up on Gambling

Tickers in this article: FB ZNGA

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Zynga (ZNGA) is anteing up, having filed for an application to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Zynga's Chief Revenue Officer, Barry Cottle, noted that Zynga expects to enter the market in a "prudent way."

"We anticipate that the process will take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete," Cottle said in a statement emailed to TheStreet. "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. 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."

TheStreet spoke to Zynga about gambling in an interview in March. Gambling was described then as an area of high interest.

"It is something we're exploring," said former Vice President Finance and Treasurer Mike Gupta. "We think it's an interesting adjacency to what we do in our core business. We also think we have an interesting asset in Zynga Poker, which is the world's largest online game, with over 30 million monthly average users, or players."

Gupta has since left the company to join Twitter for a similar role at the San Francisco-based social network.

Zynga has been under much scrutiny, as the company has cut guidance twice this year, seen its share price plummet, and recently amended its agreement with Facebook (FB) that allows Facebook to develop its own games.

Online gambling is not yet legal in the United States, though Congress is currently working on legislation that would make it so. If it does indeed pass, Zynga would most likely partner with someone on this venture, perhaps one of the casino operators, though no names have been mentioned yet.

Zynga shares were reacting positively to the news, gaining 7.78% to $2.50.

Interested in more on Zynga? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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