Facebook game developer Zynga has applied to run real-money online gambling in Nevada.
The social game developer, which created games like FarmVille and CityVille is hoping that real-money gambling (RMG) will prop up its failing business, which has this year seen steep drops in share prices, executive level resignations and hundreds of employee layoffs.
Should the application be successful, it would allow gamers in Nevada to gamble using real-money via their computers. Users with IPs registered outside Nevada will not be able to access the games.
The US states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are all working to increase online games after government legislation in 2011 found that only online gambling on sporting events would be illegal.
Real-money gambling could provide a much needed turnaround for Zynga which in October predicted net losses for this financial year of between $90 million and $105 million.
Though player numbers for CityVille and FarmVille continue to fall, Zynga Poker remains one of the company's most popular games.
In an official statement, Zynga's chief revenue officer Barry Cottle said the process of developing an online game market for Zynga could take more than a year:
"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."
Zynga has also partnered with PartyPoker.com owner bwin.party to introduce real-money gambling games to the UK in 2013. Although RMG games are available in the UK via Facebook in the form of Bingo Friendzy, it's likely that Zynga will host its own website, after it was announced in November that the company had ended its exclusivity deal with the social network.