There’s a very fine line between social gaming and social gambling. Think about it. All you have to do is add a wager and one becomes the other.
Given that the former is already massive business (It’s no accident that Zynga accounts for 12% of Facebook’s revenue) it’s hardly surprising that the latter is set to follow suit.
In fact, tech analysis company Juniper Research reckons that social gambling could be a US$100-billion industry by 2017. It says the surge in social gambling activity is being driven, at least in part, by the introduction of intrastate casino and lottery services in the US.
Hardly surprising then that Zynga itself want in on the action. According to Juniper Research’s Dr Windsor Holden:
“Social gaming companies such as Zynga are seeking to move from play-for-fun casino games into real money gambling, while pureplay mobile casinos including Probability have begun to integrate with the Facebook mobile platform. In this way, consumers will be able to use their social networks to register for casino games, substantially increasing both the reach and engagement of such services.”
At the moment, social gambling is dominated by sports betting, although that looks set to be overhauled by casino gaming within five years.
Juniper Research also reckons that mobile will become an increasingly important platform for gambling, particularly with the emergence of mobile wallets.