American gaming company, Zynga, has joined forces with poker heavy hitters, bwin party. More of a branding tie than a true partnership; each company will maintain its own distinct identity whilst giving Zynga the opportunity to get into real-money gaming without procuring its own license.
Established in 2007, California-based Zynga’s popularity rose significantly in 2009, when it became the most successful app provider for Facebook. Social Media games include FarmVille, Mafia Wars 1 and 2, Bubble Safari and Words with Friends, to name a few. Games such as those use a free token system whilst on Facebook, yet now Zynga is looking to get European players invested in actual betting games for real money.
With hopes of a launch in early 2013, Zynga plans to offer real money versions of more than 180 of its games to non-US citizens. Entertainments include roulette, blackjack, poker, and even a slots version of the habit-forming FarmVille. Due to American legislation, US gamers will not be able to play for real coin, but Zynga has not announced any plans to do away with its Facebook-friendly pastimes as of yet.
Originally, Zynga had hopes of taking over the Ongame Network and Full Tilt Poker site. Despite thwarted plans, Zynga pushed through and signed a different type of partnership deal with the stalwart company, bwin. Bwin is consistently ranked as one of the top sites in online poker and casino games. The company ranks well regarding trust and security, and has a reputation for offering fair and entertaining play.
Zynga and bwin both bring something to the table. By siding with bwin, Zynga can get its feet wet in real-money betting under the tutelage of bwin party. This move also allows a slow and steady transition whilst continuing to focus on creating interesting games. By partnering with Zynga, bwin should get a fresh shot in the arm from the young upstarts who make games that players have trouble walking away from. With Zynga’s numbers ranging at about 240 million players a month, this American company may be new to real-money gaming but it is by no means a stranger to entertainment for the masses.
Will the bwin/Zynga partnership eventually branch out beyond getting the American gaming company over to Europe? The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act makes options for European money play in America practically non-existent. But where there’s a will; hot land-based gambling destinations such as Nevada are looking into legal ways to let European gaming sites get back in the mix. Whether such a change is coming or not, remains to be seen. But a strong gaming alliance between an American and European company could quite possibly put each in the winner’s seat in the not-too-distant future.