Bloomberg has reported that Zynga has hired a former online gambling executive as its chief operating officer of new markets, ahead of the game maker’s plans to offer real money wagering next year. She will help oversee gambling strategy and development at Zynga.
VentureBeat also reports the story.
Barry Cottle, executive vice resident of business and corporate development is quoted as saying:
Maytal Olsha is a fantastic addition to Zynga. She joins our team with a deep understanding and direct experience in getting online gaming product offerings off the ground and directly into the hands of players. She is a strong advocate for integrating social features into real money offerings in order to make them more appealing and interactive for casual audiences. Maytal’s arrival is a win for Zynga and our player network.
This confirms rumors which have been circulating since July 2012. Over the last few months, we have seen the introduction of more ‘pay-to-play’ with the arrival of YoVille VIP membership. Although, it looks as though Zynga plans to go a step further and follow Facebook by dipping its toes into the gambling pond. Facebook started the ball rolling when it introduced Bingo Friendzy, but what has Zynga got in store for us? As yet it is anyone’s guess. All that is certain is that it involves players spending real money in order to play.
There are a number of younger people already playing Zynga games, so how will that affect them? How will Zynga police things to prevent minors from gambling? How will it get around different countries gaming laws?
It’s too early to make judgements, but it begs the question – is this the new face of Zynga?
How do you feel about Zynga venturing into online wagering? Would you welcome it, and be willing to wager real money on any Zynga games, or do you feel that it is wrong for the company to move in this direction? Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. We love to read your feedback!