Investors were salivating on Friday at the prospect of Zynga breaking into online gambling. The company said it is in “active conversations with potential partners” to try and figure out the market, which sent its shares up 7 percent.
Last month, the U.S. Justice Department declared that only online betting on sports is unlawful, setting the stage for some U.S. states to legalize online gambling.
Melissa Riahei, general counsel at the online gaming company, U.S. Digital gaming, said Zynga would not be able to enter the $35 billion online casino market on its own. If Internet gaming is legalized, Zynga would have to partner with an operator that could get a license for Internet gambling, like a casino, and have to figure out which states it can work in.
Still, “the opportunity is huge. Zynga has a very good chance of being a big player in this market because of the player base it can bring”, she said.
Zynga has 30 million monthly players of its poker game and it could also could jump into gambling on the go–on a smartphone or tablet.