The focus of Silicon Valley these days is on online gambling. Developers are turning casual games like FarmVille into opportunities for adults to wager bets.
Most of the focus is overseas where gambling is largely legal and attitudes are more relaxed.
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And game companies from small teams all the way up to Facebook and Zynga are keeping tabs on the lucrative American market where most legitimate types of online wagers have been cleared by the US Justice Department.
Nevada and Deleware are already building a foundation for virtual gambling. Other states like California, Mississippi, and Iowa are introducing bills to approve online gambling, seeing it as a
strong source of tax revenue.
Estimates in the state of Iowa alone are that over 150,000 Iowans are already playing poker illegally.
Silicon Valley companies think that online gambling will soon become as commonplace as buying an e-book or streaming a movie and that the convenience of gambling with friends in the comfort of one’s own home will offset the lack of glitz offered by most brick-and-mortar casinos.
Estimates place a value of $32 billion in annual revenues from online gambling. That almost matches the revenue produced by the current US casino market.
While companies are waiting for the US market to open up, they are introducing gambling games in Britain where Apple has tweaked its iPhone features to accommodate them.
Facebook started a online bingo game in Britain last summer called Jackpot joy. Zynga has Farmville, Mafia Wars, Words with Friends, and other popular games and is advertising its first release of gambling games in Britain.
Casual gaming first became an attraction on Facebook where players could corral their friends and play for virtual rewards, which are easily translatable
into monetary rewards.