December 06, 2012, 5:03 PM — Fans of Zynga Poker may soon have the chance to give up the game's virtual currency and play for real-world stakes. The struggling social games maker recently took its first step to obtaining a gaming license in the state of Nevada.
Zynga Thursday confirmed for PCWorld that it has applied for an "Application for a Preliminary Finding of Suitability from the Nevada Gaming Control Board."
"This filing continues our strategic effort to enter regulated RMG [real-money gaming] markets in a prudent way," Zynga's Chief Revenue Officer, Barry Cottle said in a statement. "We anticipate that the process will take approximately 12- to 18-months to complete. As we've said previously, the broader U.S. market is an opportunity that's further out on the horizon based on legislative developments, but we are preparing for a regulated market."
If approved, Zynga would be able to offer online gambling to anyone within Nevada. But the hope is that after undergoing the rigors of obtaining a Nevada gaming license, the company would have an easier time getting potential licenses in other U.S. states, according to The Wall Street Journal.
It's not clear how long it would take for Zynga to obtain a gaming license in Nevada. The company's current application aims to prove to Nevada that Zynga is fit to run a gambling operation in the state, a process that could take anywhere from a year to 18 months.
Zynga, once the most dominant game maker on Facebook, has seen the popularity of titles such as FarmVille and CityVille wane in recent months, resulting in lackluster earnings reports. Facebook recently announced its top rated games for 2012, a list that put Zynga games such as FarmVille 2 and Draw Something outside the top 10 in favor of games from FreshPlanet, Social Point and Rovio.
The state of online gambling