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Monday, 08 April 2013 07:32

Zynga Risks the Farm in Latest Gambling Venture

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You know them for their cute animated chickens and cows in Farmville, but Zynga has taken a new direction.

The company, known for social gaming on the Facebook platform, has partnered with bwin.party to offer a variety of real-money games including poker, roulette, blackjack and online casino slots. The offerings, known as Zynga Plus Poker and Zynga Plus Casino, include a variety of traditional casino incentives including a £3,000 Welcome Basket, which kicks off with a 100% match up to £750.

Games include a Farmville-themed slot machine, the popular Wonderland slot, the fun Doctor Love slot and the queen of all slots, Cleopatra. In addition to offering multi-hand blackjack and European and American roulette, there are also table games like pai gow, craps and baccarat.

The beleaguered company has seen falling demand for its social gaming products and faced a grim outlook last year, sacking 5% of its staff and reducing its earnings outlook.

The new venture appears to have been received favourably by shareholders, as the stock surged almost 15% ahead of the launch, although the prices are still a long way off from the initial 2011 price.

The new real-money casino will be offered to UK players only, with the gambling-friendly market being treated as a test before the company can roll out the product to other regulated markets. 'Our long term vision is to offer our players the next generation of real money games on multiple platforms in regulated markets worldwide,' said Barry Cottle, Zynga's chief revenue officer.