After releasing a rather disappointing Q3 report, social gaming giant Zynga managed to surprise the UK gambling news.
Mark Pincus’ company has long expressed its interest to enter the real-money gambling world, with a particular focus on one of the largest legal markets, the UK online casinos.
On Wednesday, Zynga announced that it is forming a partnership with Bwin.Party digital entertainment.
According to a joint press release, the real-money waging online casino operation will go live in the first half of 2013 in the UK. The two companies will also launch a new online poker site in the United Kingdom. Licensing will be done through the online gambling regulator in Gibraltar.
Zynga executive vice president Barry Cottle commented: “Partnering with an established leader like Bwin.Party is a strategic and prudent way for us to enter a key RMG (real money gambling) market while giving local players the real money games they’ve been asking us for.”
Bwin.party co-chiefs Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger added: “Zynga is the world’s leader in social games with hundreds of millions of active players worldwide and a significant player base in the UK.”
“We are delighted to have been selected as their chosen partner for this important step in their evolution, and hope to expand our relationship into other products and markets,” he added.
The UK poker site will be powered by and integrated into the Party Gaming network. The network, featuring associated operators like WPT Poker and Empire Poker, is expected to be the major player in the UK.
180 online casino games including Farmville slots
The online gambling enterprise, fully compliant with the British gambling laws, is reported to release around 180 real-money casino games from Party Gaming. Zynga’s most successful social game, Farmville, will also be turned into a slots game.