Zynga has begun the process of bringing real-money gambling to its users in the United States. The San Francisco, California-based social game company has filed the necessary paperwork in Nevada, in a time when the company faces a high-profile lawsuit from Electronic Arts and frequent defections of high-level employees.
Zynga's application for a preliminary finding of suitability from the Nevada Gaming Control Board is expected to be reviewed in the next 12 to 18 months. If the company's application is successful and Zynga is granted a gambling license, it is unclear just what Zynga will offer.
Currently, Zynga Poker allows players to use real-world money to buy extra chips, but users can only cash out with virtual currency. Zynga has long been interested in bringing real-world money games to its users, though legal hurdles in the United States have led to delays.
"As we've said previously, the broader US market is an opportunity that's further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market," said Zynga chief revenue officer Barry Cottle in a statement.
Though real-money gambling games from Zynga may be far off in the United States, the company will introduce such titles in the United Kingdom during the first half of 2013 thanks to a partnership with online gambling company Bwin.party.