If you play online games on social networking web sites like Facebook, you probably know who Zynga is. If so, there is a good chance you already play a free online poker game run by the social gaming giant. Gardening and farming games like Farmville were previously all the rage on Facebook and at other social networking sites. However, late last year poker and casino games overtook farm-based interactive social gaming as the number one preferred activity of people who play some type of game on a social network.
And with US states like Nevada and Delaware passing legislation allowing their residents and visitors to play online poker for money, the logical assumption is that those free-play social gaming operations will turn at least part of their attention to the much more profitable “pay for play” online games. According to a recent InsideSocialGames.com report, social gaming in a free play environment generated $6.2 billion in revenue in 2011. If that sounds like a lot of money, and it certainly is, it pales in comparison to the $35.8 billion generated by online pay for play gambling.
You certainly can’t blame an online gaming industry leader like Zynga for wanting to transition at least part of their efforts online towards the market which has six times greater financial possibilities. And with sites like UltimateBet and Full Tilt Poker getting shut down in 2011 on Black Friday by the US Department of Justice, there are a lot fewer options for online poker players in the US who want to add a little spice to the turn of the cards by adding a pay for play option. Having already built a massive player pool of millions of free play online poker lovers, they are poised to simply “flip a switch” and allow those players to wager their hard-earned money if they so desire.
Even huge brick and mortar casino operators like Wynn Resorts have taken notice of the substantial player pool developed by virtual poker operators like Zynga. The two companies have been in talks for the past couple of months trying to hash out some type of relationship which will be profitable for both parties, and since Wynn Resorts already has brick-and-mortar casinos and poker rooms located around the world, Zynga could easily offer their already popular online poker services there in a pay for play operation.
It took the slow-moving US Department of Justice years to change their stance on online poker and online gambling. But they did so on December 23 of last year, allowing each individual state in the US to decide whether they wanted to offer legalized online poker play. In the short six months since that decision, two of the fifty US states have already passed online poker legislation. And with trusted and respected companies like Wynn Resorts and Zynga well-versed in handling gaming and gambling operations already, as more states adopt legislation allowing online poker, virtual players in the online poker community like Zynga seem to be holding all the cards for a big win.
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