Social Casino Intellegence is reporting that Zynga has hired online gambling firm 888’s former senior vice president of corporate and regulated markets Maytal Ginsburg Olsha.
The hire shows that Zynga is gearing up for real-money social gaming overseas, and perhaps here in the U.S. should the company succeed in changing the legislation that currently forbids it. We recently reported that Zynga is spending a lot of cash on lobbying for real-money gaming. The company spent $75,000 in lobbying fees in the last quarter both in Washington and California, centering around a bill that would let companies offer online poker in the state.
Although real-money gaming is still illegal in the United States because of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, it’s very much a part of U.K. culture. As a result, several companies are starting to double down and create social casino games that allow players to gamble with actual cash.
The news also follows casual game developer Big Fish’s announcement two weeks ago that it is joining with Betable to bring real-money gambling to the United Kingdom with Big Fish Casino, a re-branded version of the social mobile casino game Card Ace: Casino. Prior to that announcement, Gamesys launched the first such app on Facebook with Bingo Friendzy.