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Zynga share price rises amid New Jersey gambling debate

Monday, 11th February 2013 10:31 GMT By Dave Cook

Zynga’s stock has hit a six-month high, rising 11% following months of financial turmoil, lay-offs and walk-outs. The increase comes as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie opened up the possibility for legally-sanctioned real money gaming.

Reuters reports that Christie blocked an internet gaming bill in Congress on Thursday, but stated that further changes to the proposed bill could see it successfully resubmitted and passed as law.

If passed the bill would open up potential for online gaming fuelled by real-money. Currently, services that see players betting real money on games are deemed as gambling outlets, and are therefore illegal in many states. The bill would see that restriction removed in New Jersey.

The bill could also see other states soften their stance on such online gaming services. Christie suggested that the potential market for these games could be worth $1 billion.

As a result, Zynga’s shares ended at $3.43 on Thursday – an 11% increase of 34 cents – which is the company’s highest share value since last July. Other gambling companies saw a similar rise, such as Caesar’s Palace owner Caesar’s Entertainment.

The move could prompt a renewed focus on the real-money gaming sector if the redrafted bill passes, with Panmure Gordon analysts stating in its report, “We view this as a watershed moment for state regulation of online gaming in the U.S.”

What’s your take on this potential new direction for Zynga?

Thanks GI.Biz.

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