Another Zynga Exec Bites the Dust

This is just getting out of hand. Yet another Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA  ) exec is calling it quits. This time around, we're talking about the general manager of Zynga Poker, Laurence Toney, who's moving on after almost three years at the social-game maker.

Most of Toney's time was spent building Zynga's casual poker offering, which has held its own as one of the most popular games on Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB  ) platform. According to AppData, the game boasts nearly 40 million monthly active users, or MAUs, on Facebook, surely boosting the social networker's growing payments platform.

Source: AppData.

Toney told AllThingsD that his departure wasn't about Zynga but instead relates to how many opportunities there are in Silicon Valley right now for him, although he said he has no immediate plans for what's next.

This particular exit is painful because Zynga is now betting big on real-money gambling, and one of the company's notable talent additions lately was Maytal Ginzburg, who will lead its big push. Ginzburg comes from 888 holdings, operator of a casino site featuring bingo and sports betting, among other types of gambling. Zynga is planning on launching its first round of real-money gambling titles internationally in the first half of next year, assuming it can garner the necessary regulatory approvals and licenses.

In the wake of last week's guidance reduction, CEO Mark Pincus issued an update to employees noting that further investing in the casino genre would help the company's fortunes. With all the talk about emphasizing casino games and real-money gambling, this loss couldn't come at a worse time.

Don't be surprised if Zynga's demoralizing stock drop has something to do with it as well.

Read all about the major risks facing Zynga by checking out this new premium ticker report, where I lay out all of the company's faults. On the flip side, there are a couple of opportunities that could yield serious upside for Zynga. Want to know more? Click here to get started.

 

Evan Niu, CFA, has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and has the following options: long JAN 2014 $20.00 calls on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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