Social gaming giant Zynga announced Wednesday that it has partnered with bwin.party to offer real money online poker and casino games to the United Kingdom. Plans are to launch the joint product in the first half 2013.
Zynga players in the UK who wish to test their skills at real money poker will sit at the same tables as players on bwin.party’s poker network, which includes PartyPoker, EmpirePoker, WPTPoker, GamebookersPoker, and DanskeSpil. This will be a boon for the network, which currently sits as the second most trafficked family of online poker rooms with a seven day average of 2,700 cash game players, according to PokerScout.com. While we do not know exactly how many players login to Zynga Poker from the UK each day, PokerScout’s numbers have the entirety of Zynga Poker hosting a seven day average of 106,600 play money cash game players. Even just a tiny percentage of this would give bwin.party a comfortable buffer between it and its next closest rival, the iPoker Network, which has averaged 2,650 cash game players over the last seven days.
Zynga’s real money poker games will use the PartyPoker software. Additionally, UK players of Zynga’s Farmville game will be offered a Farmville-branded real money slots game.
In a press release, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEOs of bwin.party said:
Today’s announcement is another example of our success in leveraging our assets through strategic blue-chip partners. Zynga is the world’s leader in social games with hundreds of millions of active players worldwide and a significant player base in the UK. We are delighted to have been selected as their chosen partner for this important step in their evolution, and hope to expand our relationship into other products and markets.
Barry Cottle, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Business Development for Zynga chimed in, saying:
Bringing together Zynga’s expertise in social gaming with the top international real money gaming operator is the best way to create the highest quality gaming experiences for our players in the UK. Partnering with an established leader like bwin.party is a strategic and prudent way for us to enter a key RMG market while giving local players the real money games they’ve been asking us for.
It had been known for a while that Zynga was looking to get into the real money poker business. In July, eGaming Review reported that Zynga had “opened a tender for a real money poker platform.” In the open tender, qualified bidders competed to partner with Zynga via a sealed bidding process. At the time, Playtech (iPoker Network), Microgaming, GTECH G2 (International Poker Network), and Intralot were rumored to be in on the bidding. It was not revealed if this partnership with bwin.party was the result of the open tender.