Zynga, the multibillion dollar company that made its mark with social media gaming, recently announced that they will be entering the real money online poker market in the UK. Already known for ubiquitous Facebook games like Farmville and play money Hold’em, Zynga will be the first entry of a major player into the online market since before the UIGEA was passed in the United States in 2006.
Zynga has the potential to be a game changer because of its vast brand recognition across the globe alongside its position as one of the premier social media gaming platforms. It is estimated that over 15 million individual users access a Zynga program on a daily basis, and 118 million individual users access Zynga each month. Typically these games are social in nature, with users encouraged to interact with their Facebook contacts to receive certain benefits. Combined, these assets will give Zynga access to a vast pool of potential customers for its online poker software.
The introduction of a new player into the online poker scene has the potential to revive an industry that has largely become stagnant. It is possible that awareness of online poker, particularly in the United States, could start putting pressure on the state and Federal government to finally regulate the industry. If the United States market was once again open to fully regulated online poker, the influx of new players would be overwhelming. Zynga is already well-positioned for this possibility, and would likely become one of the major players in the US market.
The question remains whether or not Zynga is able to successfully run an online poker site. It is one thing to run a site for play money, it is an entirely different situation when hundreds or thousands of dollars are changing hands every minute.