Zynga Pulls Out of Online Poker in Nevada

Posted on September 27th, 2013 by Andy Walker

Zynga Pulls Out of Online Poker in Nevada Zynga – creators of the world´s most popular free poker game – has officially pulled out of its application to supply an online poker product in Nevada.

Zynga´s Application to Withdraw – which appears on the agenda for the Nevada Gaming Control Board´s meeting scheduled for this weekend – will come as a surprise to few, after the social media games developer publicly indicated its intention not to pursue plans for real money poker in Nevada in its Q2 earnings report.

A statement within the report suggested that the company had made the decision not to pursue its license application made last December to provide real money online poker in Nevada, believing that its biggest opportunity was to focus on free-to-play social games.

Zynga Speculation Laid to Rest

Whereas many observers at the time considered that this might be a “wait-and-see” strategy in preparation for the regulating on online poker in the US on a federal level, it would now appear that the company´s decision to pull out of online poker in Nevada has been confirmed.

Indeed, Zynga´s application for an operating license in Nevada had not progressed beyond the initial stage or preliminary finding of suitability – possibly because of the competition from the likes of Caesars Entertainment in such a limited market.

Competition from other sites with experience in providing real money online poker has also dissuaded Zynga from getting involved in Delaware or New Jersey, where companies such as 888Poker and PokerStars are expected to take the lion´s share of players when online poker for real money is launched in these States later this year.

Zynga Withdrawal due to the Mattrick Effect?

The withdrawal of the Nevada license application is speculated to coincide with the appointment of Don Mattrick as CEO of the company – an appointment which seems to have caused a change of direction within the company.

Mattrick commented in the earnings report that the company needed to get back to basics and take a longer term view of the company´s products. He said,

The next few years will be a time of phenomenal growth in our space and Zynga has incredible assets to take advantage of the market opportunity.

Mattrick (and Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus) has no experience in the online gambling industry – Mattrick having cut his teeth with Electronic Arts and Microsoft – and the company has possibly identified that the Zynga brand name would not mean as much in the US as it might elsewhere in the world (it is reckoned that a significant number of Zynga poker players live in Asia and are under eighteen years of age).

Zynga Plus Poker to Continue “Being Evaluated”

Despite the Application to Withdraw from online poker in Nevada, Zynga are not abandoning online poker completely. The company still lends it name to the Bwin.Party skin Zynga Plus Poker which operates exclusively in the United Kingdom.

A spokesperson for Zynga said that the company would continue to evaluate its real money gaming products in the United Kingdom test but focus on the growing opportunities in free social gaming and social casino offerings.

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