This all comes after the Department of Justice
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With news of another pair of executives bolting from Zynga Monday, it seems time to start focusing on who's filling those increasingly empty seats, rather than who's left in them. While chief technical officer Allan Leinwand and Cheap RS Gold chief marketing and revenue officer Jeff Karp explore other pastures, the pressure is about to start mounting on Maytal Ginzburg, who came on board at the end of last month to fill the chief operating officer position left vacant by John Schappert's unceremonious departure from the company. Will Ginzburg be able to staunch the bleed? Probably not. Zynga execs are at the top of every headhunter's wish list and they generally seem ready, if not eager, to leave. But the bigger question is: Can she turn things around? And that's a little harder to answer. Ginzburg, as has been widely reported, was most recently senior VP of regulated markets at 888 Holdings, an online gambling firm. And that could be worth something as Zynga works to reinvent itself these days.That metamorphosis could begin early next year with the release of a real-money version of Zynga Poker, slated to hit the U.K. in 2013. The gambling market is a crowded one, filled with established Runeacape players. But Ginzburg's hiring could help even the odds a bit.High stakesOnline gambling is still illegal in most U.S. states and it's expensive in those areas where it's allowed. Right now, only Nevada has authorized online poker and Digital Trends puts the figure for an online gambling license there at between $1 million and $1.3 million. California, New Jersey and Illinois are considering joining Nevada, but have not yet moved forward with plans.Meanwhile, there's also an intense lobbying effort underway to legalize online gambling on a federal basis. This all comes after the Department of Justice, after years of saying otherwise, announced last December that the law prohibiting online gambling only encompassed sports wagering. Legal experts said that opened the door for individual states to allow online poker and the like, with the caveat that the Black Desert Silver games don't cross state lines.Financially, that's like honey to a bear for a company like Zynga. Before a recent crackdown by officials, online gambling was a market with $18 billion in wagers in 2010. Ginzburg's hiring indicates Zynga believes that market is about to open up further without the legal headaches that have historically come with it. And it's positioning itself to be a first mover in the field.