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Stellar Growth in Zynga Patent Portfolio Heralds Plans to Enter Online Gambling

Struggling company files truckload of patents in preparations for online gambling profits.

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Just recently, in an effort to strengthen its finances, Zynga made the painful but necessary move to drop some of its less popular titles, as well as the employees it no longer needs to support them. At the same time the company appears serious in establishing itself as a major player in the online gambling industry.

Having joined forces with UK-based Bwin last October, Zynga has apparently made further steps indicating the social gaming giant’s intentions to tap into online gambling profits. The latest developments making headlines in online gambling news in the US and elsewhere relate to the company’s patent portfolio, which grew at an incredible pace in 2012.

The number of patents held by Zynga skyrocketed from 1 to 89 (as well as another 36 pending). Even more interesting than the quantity of patents is their content: 38 of them were obtained from Walker Digital – a software company that actually sued Zynga for alleged gaming patent infringement in January 2011.

Of those 38 patents 33 deal directly with online gambling technologies, including connecting slot machine devices to a central server, a team based multiplayer casino environment and a wagering machine. Many of the remaining 51 patents also relate to online gambling, and are expected to be developed using Zynga’s own in-house expertise.

Since another batch of patents seem to be useful for land-based operations, this raises the prospect that the online gaming company may wish to team up with a US casino operator. At any rate, as recently as December 2012 it filed a preliminary application with the state of Nevada to run gambling operations there.

As a large segment of the gaming company’s 60 million strong player base is located in the US, Zynga is no doubt thinking hard about ways to make American internet casino gaming available to these potential gamblers.

Of course they are not the only ones thinking hard. Considering Nevada’s initiative to have online gambling legalized through interstate agreements, Zynga is likely making its moves with expectations of favorable changes in American gambling laws.

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