As the year is coming to an end it is interesting to look back at how the last twelve months have changed social gaming and online gambling in general. It was only a short time ago that the line between free-to-play social games and real money gambling games was clear. Social gaming giants like Zynga were all the rage with top titles that included fun casino games like Zynga Poker and classic fun games like Farmville. We all understood and enjoyed the games for what they were as just a fantasy escape into a world of poker where the virtual stakes were high yet the potential for real money gain or loss were not present.

A big reason for social casino games being so popular is the fact that in major markets like the U.S. real money online gambling was illegal. This all changed about a year ago worth the now reviewed Wire Act of 1961. For anyone involved in the gambling industry there is no need to elaborate. In short this piece of legislation was the main factor for online gambling being illegal in the U.S.

Since then there has been a sense of uncertainty tinged with real optimism as individual states like Nevada and New Jersey are taking the lead in promulgating internet gambling legislation. This has been done in the absence of the Federal government deciding which way they are leaning towards.

The allure of real money online gambling in the U.S. has got major social gaming companies and traditional casinos in an uproar. There has been a major run made by many major gambling and social companies who see the online gambling pie as the ultimate prize in gaming and gambling. The U.S. is seen as the undiscovered frontier of online gambling and the sky is the limit when it comes to cashing in on this growing global trend.

Social gaming companies like Zynga are not only looking to embrace this real money gambling world but are even looking to it to save their free-to-play games. Zynga is a prime example of how fast the online social gaming market is changing. If you would have forecast that the once undisputed king of social gaming would lose close to 80% of its IPO in less than a year, many would have laughed at you. Well Zynga’s past year has been one to forget as their share price tanked along with investors losing confidence both in the company’s vision and viability. Added to this were the mass walkouts of senior executives which seemed to happen on a weekly basis.

In an attempt to save the company CEO mark Pincus is hoping that their biggest hit Zynga Poker will manage to pull them out of a slump which could well see the fall of this giant. Pincus has pulled out just about every trick in the book to make real money gambling a reality for Zynga. Only last week did Zynga apply for a preliminary finding of suitability from the Nevada Gaming Control Board which is seen as the first step to acquiring a online license in Nevada. Added to that is their recent announcement of partnering up with the largest publicly traded online gambling company in the world Bwin.Party.

Skeptics however are asking the question as to whether Zynga is ”punching above their weight class” as the real money gambling world is another ballpark from that of social gaming. They will be forced to compete with established online gambling players like that of PokerStars who enjoy a wealth of experience .There have also been dozens of major gambling brands like Caesars Entertainments with their World Series Of Poker brand and MGM Resorts who make up just a few of the dozens of companies who have applied for online gaming licenses in states like Nevada. These major corporations have all the financial and business backing required to successfully run an online poker enterprise in the U.S.

It is for these reasons that many are asking where will Zynga be in twelve months time? The forecasts are anything from extinct to reclaiming their dominance as a central social gaming and real money gambling company .It remains to be seen if CEO Pincus pulls off the ultimate comeback with the aid of real money gambling or if this latest escapade to revive his company is just another roll of the dice.