Zynga recruits online gambling vet as new COO

Maytal Ginzburg leaves senior role at for John Schappert's old job

Zynga has hired an executive from the online gambling firm as its new COO, AllThingsD reports.

Maytal Ginzburg has left her role as senior vice president of corporate and regulated markets at 888holdings to become COO of Zynga - the position previously occupied by EA veteran John Schappert, who resigned from the company at the start of the month.

Hiring Ginsburg is a positive move for the troubled social gaming company, because Schappert is not the only executive to leave in recent months. Indeed, another two key employees resigned yesterday: Bill Mooney, former general manager of FarmVille and vice president of studios, and Brian Birtwhistle, vice president of marketing.

The choice of Ginzburg is particularly telling given Zynga's growing interest in real-money gambling. A key factor in the company's present decline is a perceived lack of growth in its core businesses. Online gambling is a new market, and Zynga will release a real-money poker game next year.

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Latest comments (9)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
The writing is on the wall here. If/when the USA makes online gambling legal Zynga will be there. In lots of ways they are positioning themselves for this. And their knowledge of metrics and behaviour will allow them to create compelling offerings.
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Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.4 years ago
That's a hell of a big if though.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 4 years ago
So they're not even trying to make 'games' any more?!
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Well you could say, games was just a shopefront facade to gain a war chest, but really the evolution from marketing company to gambling, was the most natural long term plan...we were just suckers for thinking they would eventually make good games after various mea culpas.
It’s not uncommon for some employees to move on at this stage in the life of a startup. “When you have a brilliant founder who wants to go the distance, not everybody stays with him,” Gordon said.
this could thus potentially have new meaning

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dr. Chee Ming Wong on 31st August 2012 12:19pm

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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 4 years ago
The fact that Diablo III give the possibility to make money out of the AH, wouldn't be possible to have games involving money gambling or money exchanges?
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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist/Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games4 years ago
Bruce, True, it's not illegal to place a bet online in the US. BUT...

It is illegal to ACCEPT a bet online. That is why all of the online poker sites in the US were shut down.
And Zynga wants to be in the position of accepting bets.

One of the problems Zynga is going to have to overcome is that those people who want to place real money bets are probably already doing it. Zynga is not going to be the the first or only site to offer real money betting. If a player likes the site they are on, why switch to another site?

California recently tried to pass a bill allowing online gambling in California (SB 1364).
If failed to pass.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Gary LaRochelle on 1st September 2012 6:18pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
This will fail miserably in the US because of the states who will fight against it, the parents who will think these companies are targeting kids, the anti-gambling crowd who will see it as a new way to hook people and whatever politicians on the latest anti-gaming treadmill want to use this as a reason that gaming will turn Little Johnny into a switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquent or whatever.

Unless (of course) someone figures out how to get those states against it a cut of the profits in the form of taxes so they can balance their budgets on all the fools throwing their money away. It'll be a fun fight, that's for sure...
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Raf Keustermans CEO, co-founder Plumbee 4 years ago
I don't think she is the new Zynga COO, I understood she was the COO for one business unit, not the entire company.
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