Social media games juggernaut Zynga have entered into an exclusive partnership with bwin.party to offer real-money poker games in the U.K.
Zynga, with the assistance of bwin.party, plans to launch a real-money games service in the first half of 2013 with poker and over 180 casino games.
"Bringing together Zynga's expertise in social gaming with the top international real money gaming operator is the best way to create the highest quality gaming experiences for our players in the UK," said Barry Cottle, executive VP, corporate and business development, Zynga.
Apparently Zynga’s real-money U.K. players will have access to bwin.party’s player pool meaning there will instantly be thousands of players on the secure network.
In addition Zynga’s U.K.-based real-money games service will operate under bwin.party’s Gibralter gaming license. bwin.party operates Party Poker and bwin Poker.
Important Step for Embattled Zynga
Moving to real-money games is potentially a huge move for Zynga as the company’s stock has been hitting record lows over the last few weeks as its free-to-play business model has been called into question.
The very first game Zynga ever developed was the wildly popular Texas Hold’Em Poker (now just called Zynga Poker). It still has hundreds of thousands of daily users.
Earlier this year Zynga CEO Mark Pincus called real-money gambling a natural fit for a social games company.