Zynga said it filed an application with the Nevada Gaming Control Board, a step toward operating real-money gambling sites in the state, as the maker of social games seeks new areas of growth amid slowing sales.
The company filed for a preliminary finding of suitability for gaming in Nevada, Chief Revenue Officer Barry Cottle said in a statement. It could take the San Francisco game maker 12 to 18 months to become eligible for real-money wagering in the state, he said.
Gambling is a possible new revenue opportunity for Zynga, which has struggled to step up growth as gamers have shifted to mobile devices. While the company said in October that it signed a partnership with Gibraltar-based Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment to offer real-money gambling in the UK, this week’s filing marks Zynga’s first step toward US gambling.
“As we’ve said previously, the broader US market is an opportunity that’s further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market,” Cottle said.
Nevada has begun granting licences for online poker, and Delaware and New Jersey are on track to follow next year, according to the American Gaming Association. It could take five years before online wagering becomes legal nationwide, according to Doug Creutz, a Cowen analyst.
Zynga rose 3.1 per cent to US$2.32 at the close on Wednesday in New York. Through Wednesday it had plunged 77 per cent since holding an initial public offering a year ago.