The agreement calls for the social gaming giant and the PartyPoker parent to launch a multitude of online gambling products that include poker, blackjack, roulette and slots. The partnership will operate under the Gibraltar online gaming licence of Bwin.party, which will negate the need for Zynga to apply for licensing.
“Today’s announcement is another example of our success in leveraging our assets through strategic blue-chip partners,” said Bwin.party co-CEO’s Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger in a press release. “Zynga is the world’s leader in social games with hundreds of millions of active players worldwide and a significant player base in the U.K. We are delighted to have been selected as their chosen partner for this important step in their evolution, and hope to expand our relationship into other products and markets.”
Zynga had announced its plans to enter the real-money online gambling market in July after its tremendous success with a number of social gaming options mainly through Facebook. Social gamers numbering in the millions flocked to Zynga Poker, Farmville and Zynga Casino games, catching the eye of several real-money online gaming companies. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus said at the time that entering the real-money market seemed a “natural fit” for the company’s evolution. To that end, Zynga hired former 888 Holdings executive Maytal Ginzburg Olsha as COO for new markets in August. Ginzburg Olsha’s role with 888–a highly successful European real-money gambling operation–was senior vice president of regulated markets.
Zynga has fallen on hard times of late, shedding over three-fourths of its value on the market since its public offering in December. The price per share opened at $10, but dropped heavily from the start and is now just slightly above $2. Just yesterday, the company announced plans to trim its workforce by roughly 5% and shut down operations in several locations. Combining player pools in tandem with Bwin.party looks to be good choice for the struggling Zynga.
“Bringing together Zynga’s expertise in social gaming with the top international real money gaming operator is the best way to create the highest quality gaming experiences for our players in the UK,” Zynga’s executive vice president of corporate and business development Barry Cottle said in a statement. “Partnering with an established leader like Bwin.party is a strategic and prudent way for us to enter a key RMG market while giving local players the real money games they’ve been asking us for.”