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Zynga to Launch Real-Money Versions of its Poker and Casino Games in U.K. (ZNGA)

Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) announced on Tuesday that it will soon launch two real-money versions of its poker and casino games in the U.K., in conjunction with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

For the San Francisco, California-based Company this will be the first venture in online gambling business. The Company will hope that its foray into real money gaming business provides it with much needed impetus as its top line growth reels under pressure due to increasing competition from other social game makers and shrinking popularity of its games like “FarmVille”

Following the announcement, shares skyrocketed almost 8.50% in aftermarket hours on Tuesday.

The Company said that “ZyngaPlusCasino” and “ZyngaPlusPoker” would be available both on the Web and desktop app for U.K. based gamblers. Zynga, which always yearned to make a foray in real-money gaming business, will now be able to gauge the demand for online gambling games from its core users.

In addition, Zynga is also developing these games for Facebook platform. During the fiscal fourth quarter conference call; Zynga Inc’s executives said that by making these games available on social networking giant’s platform, the Comoany will be able to attract huge pool of potential gamers. According to Chicago Tribune, sources familiar with the matter said that these games will be available on Facebook platform (both for desktop users and mobile apps) in coming months.

Although online gambling remains illegal in majority of states in the U.S., Zynga is betting that gradually the regulatory environment will change. For the time being, the Company is focusing on smaller regulated markets such as Nevada even as it hopes that lawmakers in Washington will soon pass a bill, allowing online gambling in the U.S. Besides, the U.S. and U.K., Zynga is also eyeing other European markets this year.

“Our long term vision is to offer our players the next generation of real money games on multiple platforms in regulated markets worldwide,” Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in statement on Tuesday.

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