A Gambling Company Is About To Snatch Zynga’s Billion-Dollar Opportunity

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[credit provider=”Zynga”]

Slot machine company International Game Technology is buying Double Down Interactive, a Facebook app developer that makes a virtual casino game, for $500 million paid over three years, The Wall Street Journal Reports.That’s one heck of a price tag for an app company that only has around 4.7 million monthly active users, according to AppData. But its main app is a virtual casino that plays slots, blackjack and poker.

We wrote recently that should Zynga enter online gambling with its 200-million-plus users, it would represent at least a billion-dollar opportunity. Some recent changes in laws could open the door for online gambling games on platforms like Facebook, which represents a golden opportunity for the now-public social gaming company.

If gambling companies are already starting to buy up Facebook app companies, that means time is already running out for Zynga to apply the same first-mover advantage it used to become the dominant app developer on Facebook.