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Real Gambling Next for Zynga? (ZNGA, IGT)

Newly public social gamemaker Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) is considering offering a real-money gambling game, most likely to be poker. The company’s Facebook Casino attracts some 7 million players every day who are happy to play for fun.

Last week’s purchase of digital gaming company Double Down Interactive LLC by International Gaming Technology (NYSE: IGT) for $250 million and additional payments that could total another $250 million has stirred the pot.

The WSJ’s All Things Digital blog received a statement from Zynga in which the company said:

We know from listening to our players that there’s an interest in the real money gambling market. We’re in active conversations with potential partners to better understand and explore this new opportunity.

Any such offering is at least months away, but Zynga can’t afford to be late to the party if real-money is about to hit the virtual table. The company’s share price today is up nearly 4% at $8.85, still well below the IPO price of $10.