Zynga makes a bet with RocketPlay’s virtual Sports Casino


Once the darling of the online set with its Farmville and other mobile and online applications, Zynga has hit hard times of late as its stock has dropped 72 % since its IPO in December and recently its executives have been fleeing the building, with seven gone since August.

The company is the largest maker of games for Facebook, and it is known for programs such as Mafia Wars, CastleVille, CityVille, Words with Friends and of course FarmVille is now looking to partnerships to help bolster its brand and hopefully bring in additional customers and revenue.

The latest move is to promote developer RocketPlay and its Sports Casino and will be bringing the app to Facebook and Zynga.com. This is the first time that Zynga has promoted a third party app, in the past all of the content in is lineup has been homegrown. It will be interesting to see if in the future Zynga takes on a much larger role as a publisher, and if that will cause complications due to conflicts of interest.

Sports Casino imitates real life in many ways; you check the odds and place bets, and then root for the results that will bring you in the cash. It is not just a sports book but also will have video poker, slots and blackjack and other casino games. You can even enjoy a nice cocktail while doing so. The difference is that you do so by simply logging into Facebook while sitting at home, and of course no real money changes hands.

Out just a week it already has 10,000 followers, which is a nice start but far from the heady numbers that some of the more established games have such as Words with Friends that has 13 million players, but it is still new.

One feature that it has that I greatly dislike is that it may post on my behalf mentioning achievements high scores etc… Thanks but that is not really something I want, and that feature has prevented me from using other apps that do this. However others seem quite happy in broadcasting to the world their ups and downs playing online games.

The game will initially only present odds for NCAA football, the NFL, MLB and a variety of soccer matches but expects to expand to cover a number of additional sports including the NBA and NCAA basketball and others.

Zynga already has a virtual gambling game, Zynga Poker, which was its first game. However Business Insider has suggested that the reason for the partnership is that RocketPlay’s platform could be the basis for a real-money gambling at some point in the future. RocketPlay’s management team has experience in that area.


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