When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Signed Legislation approving the legalization of online gambling, he said he was looking to help the struggling Casino industry, but it could also be a game-changer for Zynga, other social game companies, and the technology providers that offer the infrastructure to manage gambling. New Jersey is the third state to approve online gambling, and there are many steps—and perhaps even years—before this business takes off, but as such a populous stake, it's a key step in tipping this business to the mainstream.
Zynga shares added nearly five percent the session Christie signed the legislation, after jumping on Friday, after Nevada approved online gambling. While Zynga struggles to grow the number of people who pay to play its free games, and pushes to grow the amount that small percentage of people are paying, real-money gaming would provide a much-needed new revenue stream. Over 30 million people play Zynga's poker game on Facebook alone every month. So if even a small percent of those people are convinced to gamble with cash, that would provide a much needed boost to Zynga's bottom line.