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Zynga throws chips down on US gambling gambit

Taps up Nevada for online poker licence

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To morph gaming into gambling you only need to add the letters 'B' and 'L' and then apply some cold hard cash to the proceedings, so it's hardly surprising to see a bruised Zynga trying to get in on the, er, game.

The publicly-trading outfit, which was recently spurned by one-time close partner Facebook, has reportedly filed a gaming licence application with the Nevada Gaming Control Board in the US.

However, the process is likely to take some time, according to the Wall Street Journal, with Nevada officials taking anything up to 18 months to reach a decision about Zynga based on how well in order its financial house is.

The online gaming company, which created titles such as Words with Friends and Farmville, said it was waiting for a "regulated market" in the US before putting its money where its mouth is in that part of the world.

Nevada is the first state to have begun licensing online outfits to punt poker games within a limited geographical area.

"[T]he broader US market is an opportunity that's further out on the horizon based on legislative developments," said Zynga sales chief Barry Cottle.

Here in the UK, Zynga announced in October this year that it had buddied up with bwin.party to offer real money online poker and casino games to Blighty customers. That service is expected to launch in the first half of 2013 and will operate under bwin.party's Gibraltar gaming licence.

Late last month, Facebook distanced itself from what had been a cosy relationship with Zynga by confirming that the gaming company could no longer cream off users from the dominant social network.

It appeared as though Facebook had lost faith in Zynga - given that the original deal between the pair stated that the lucrative agreement could only stay in place if certain conditions relating to growth targets for monthly unique users of a number of Zynga games could be met.

The company's heavy dependence on Facebook will end in March 2013, so it's hardly surprising to see Zynga chase other potential revenue streams.

Meanwhile, Facebook already offers gambling apps to "responsible" players in Britain. ®

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