Zynga Shares Surge 15 Percent on Online Gambling

Mark Pincus

Mark Pincus' Zynga has 232 million monthly active players for games including "Mafia Wars."

The gaming company launched ZyngaPlusCasino and ZyngaPlusPoker in the U.K.

Zynga bucked a downtrend on Wall Street Wednesday by surging 15 percent, a reflection of the bullishness over the game company's newest business: online gambling.

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Zynga, known for mobile social games like Words With Friends, launched on Wednesday a suite of games where players in the U.K. can win and lose real money. The games, ZyngaPlusCasino and ZyngaPlusPoker, are not available in the U.S., where online gambling is illegal.

The company was in desperate need of a bold new idea that it could potentially turn into profits, as its stock had sunk 80 percent in a year. On Wednesday, though, it jumped 46 cents to $3.53 on volume that was more than twice normal.