Zynga Names Executive to Oversee Push Into Online Gambling

5:13 AM PST 09/14/2012 by Georg Szalai

Maytal Olsha will serve as COO of new markets at the company, which is known for such Facebook games as "FarmVille" and "Mafia Wars."

Social video game maker Zynga, which has recently lost a slew of top executives, has hired a new executive to help the company push into online gambling and other new markets.

Maytal Olsha will serve as Zynga's COO of new markets, AllThingsD reported, citing an internal company memo. Previously senior vp of regulated markets for gambling portal 888 Holdings, she will spearhead new initiatives in such regulated markets as online gambling, the report said. Zynga is currently best known for such casual Facebook games as "FarmVille" and "Mafia Wars."

Zynga, whose games currently also include "Zynga Poker" and a bingo game, has signaled it plans to push into the real-money gambling space in 2013. "Zynga Poker" has been called the world's largest online poker community, leading some analysts to predict financial upside if the company could make more money off it.

Zynga's stock has been declining this year amid earnings disappointments, which helped kick off the recent executive exodus.

The stock, which made its market debut in December, on Thursday closed down 3.6 percent at $2.96. Last month, it set a new low of $2.66. It had reached its high of $15.91 in early March.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai


 

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