Zynga Bolsters Real-Money Initiative; Adds Online Gambling Expert to Team

12 September 2012

Newspaper

Zynga, the provider of social games services to over 240 million average monthly users around the world, pressed forward in its quest toward real-money gaming apps with the appointment of Maytal Ginzburg to its executive team. Maytal Ginzburg’s most recent position was the Senior Vice President at 888 Holdings, a global online gaming company that brings the world (with, of course, the exception of the United States in many cases) online bingo, online poker, online casino, and online sport wagering.

Despite launching several free social games in 2012  (Hidden Chronicles, Zynga Bingo, Scramble With Friends as well as others aimed at Asian markets, like Montopia and Ayakashi: Ghost Guild), Zynga is what MSN Money analysit, BenZinga, calls “a struggling mess”. Benzinga continues his assessment:

The company continually tops the charts of AppData.com but can barely maintain a consistent stock price. On Aug. 2, Zynga shares hit an all-time low of $2.70. Four weeks later, the stock has yet to recover. The company has attempted to offset its losses (and quell investor worries) with a venture into mobile game publishing. Zynga has not been successful, but the company hopes that a deal with Nokia will help turn the tide. That, however, is unlikely to happen unless Nokia can turn its own company around.

So it appears that Zynga is not only interested in gambling online, but also in gambling a bit with its very future. With online gambling on loose legal footing in the United States, all of this set up could be for naught.

On the other hand, Zynga’s maneuvering could land just short of genius.

Nearly all of  Zynga’s newest game releases have be created to take advantage of online gaming, should it become legal in the United States. This forward thinking (and hoping) could give them the advantage they need over larger, more secure online gambling companies who would otherwise protect their large turfs. And, with influence in over 175 countries, the impact of just one successful real-money game could be enough to brighten the company’s financial outlook.

Bloomberg TV calls Zynga a “stock to watch” and lists the company with Apple, Facebook, and Youku, a Chinese video hosting service.