One of the blue-sky opportunities that Zynga is exploring is to begin offering real money games in addition to its play money games. Essentially, the firm could take some of its existing games like poker, slots, bingo, and/or blackjack and give the user the opportunity to wager real money for real payouts-basically an online casino. As online gambling is already legal in parts of Europe, you can expect that area to be the first geography the firm focuses on. And while online gambling is currently illegal in the US, there has been some discussion of legalizing it (at least on a state-by-state basis).
There is a fair amount of risk that comes with entering a highly regulated business. In highly regulated businesses, there is a dramatically higher likelihood that the firm could be fined significant amounts of money or face civil and criminal charges for any violations. While partnering with established players in this business could mitigate some of this risk, a partnership will also decrease the size of the opportunity. Additionally, there is also the risk of an image problem. Gambling firms are seen as aiding a vice and if this reflects poorly on Zynga it may hurt their existing business. None of these risks are insurmountable, but should be considered carefully.
Bottom-Line: The non-US real money gaming opportunity is likely smaller than many people realize and the US gaming opportunity,while potentially large, far from a slam dunk.
Via Carl Zide