NEW YORK (AP) — Online game company Zynga says it has asked Nevada gambling regulators for a decision that could pave the way for it to enter the U.S. gambling market.

This follows Zynga's October disclosure that it has signed a deal to offer online poker and casino games, played with real money, in the U.K. It plans to launch those games in the first half of 2013.

Zynga Inc. said in an email late Wednesday that it is seeking an "application for a preliminary finding of suitability" from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. This, the company says, is part of its plan to enter regulated "real-money gaming," that is, gambling markets.

The San Francisco-based company says the process should take 12 to 18 months.

Zynga's stock is up 9.7 percent in morning trading.