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back to article Virtual narcs boot Second Life casinos off the island

The coding gnomes responsible for the virtual sanity environment known as Second Life pulled the plug yesterday on some of the most popular destinations in the virtual reality space – namely, the casinos that provide something to do other than swap sexes or species or indulge in bizarre sexual adventures. Praise Jesus they’ve …

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but... doesn't that exclude *most* games?

"(1) (a) rely on chance or random number generation to determine a winner"

Ok. No random number generators. Fine. So we can't play 2-up.

But blackjack? Alright, that's also obviously gambling. It doesn't rely *entirely* on chance or random numbers, but does rely *partially* on chance considering the cards you get.

But what does that leave? Obviously, it leaves *all* games that don't give linden dollars as rewards, but linden dollars are the primary reward in the game. What else can you give? Skins, clothes, etc. for the avatars. But most players have already customized their characters.

My study of game theory makes me want to point out that *all* games are, to a greater or lesser extent, gambling. That's part of the psychology that makes it fun. But... I'll resist that urge, and instead ponder more.

So a game like Diablo wouldn't be acceptable? We can't have second life people killing creatures and collecting the gold (linden dollars) that they drop? Because there are random number generators involved. Would it be acceptable if the creatures are deterministic?

We *can* give jigsaw puzzles, or riddles. We *can't* give everyone a different jigsaw puzzle. That would involve randomness. So we can give everyone the *same* game that can be solved the *same* way every time. And give linden dollars as a prize.

Or we can have voting games ("who has the coolest costume", etc.)

If we remove "chance" would things be acceptable? Could I cheat? Could I make a game of blackjack which doesn't pick cards "randomly" - it picks cards due to a formula based on the time as the cards are shuffled? I could even publish the formula. See? Entirely player actions, no chance at all!

Uh huh. Yeah. This sounds really workable.

But to be fair, does anyone have a more workable definition that seperates "winning gold from playing cards or lotteries" from "winning gold from killing monsters in WoW"?

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focus please !

not a bad written piece, but why the hell did you go off on the racial tack ? ... had nothing to do with your piece at all, just a random filler to make your few comments look worthwhile ?

America has arcane laws about gambling as it is, yet SL is not entirely populated by yanks, in fact in my experience i've come across more French & German users.

So, why do US laws apply to users across the globe ?

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting colour prejudice

If you're black, you're poor... Nice. [/sarcasm]

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Rob

Gambling = Bad?

What's so wrong with gambling anyway? -I'm not a fan myself, but if someone chooses to spend their money that way, why is that more wrong than spending it on books or wine or something?

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Anonymous Coward

Second Life...

... sounds as dull as the first one. Should we shuffle off and build "Third Life?"

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Well-bribed

most online gambling is illegal in the US because gambling industry lobbyists pay US politicians to keep it that way.

this free market is so open that, if there is demand for certain laws (backed by political contributions and lobby funds), someone will satisfy that demand.

very simple really, why do people keep asking?

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But what about 'fixed' games, then?

According to that directive, it appears all 'honest' gambling would be prohibited.

However, it seems like it would allow 'fixed' games... ...ie ones where the house cheats and neither randomness or chance influences the results.

It's really strange to see an anti-gambling rule that actually prohibits honest games but would allow dishonest ones.

Got to wonder what they were thinking.

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Anonymous Coward

that's why.....

they call it sadville.... Cos there's nothing to do. Leaving a bunch of (excuse the stereotypes) emo-goth dressing, saddos with no real life. Keeps 'em off the streets though.

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Taxes

It's all about taxes. If there was some way Uncle Sugar could be convinced that he could collect his "fair share" (yeah, right) then online gambling would be legal. I don't know of a single person who has ever declared any of his winnings from online gambling.

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Silver badge

be black

Of course, anyone who bothered to read the AV customisation tutorial on the intro-path at Welcome Island (RTFM!!) would know that any skin colour (including rainbow ones) are a completely free slider-control away.

My south-asian AV started as the rather white "Girl-next-door" and was fully altered in 5 minutes of fiddling in control panels before I left welcome island still with all my Lindens intact.

My own interest in SL is largely in building 3D stuff for the amusement of myself and others - I basicly treat it as a virtual Lego-technic/Meccano set. It is much more like a free-form play toy than a 'game' with an explicit objective, hence people who are used to living by canned objectives (kill the monster get the points in VR, or file the report, get the house/car/HDTV in RL) tend to be disappointed ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Sadville? Nothing to do?

If you think there is nothing to do in Second Life then you haven't a creative bone in your body.

You can make clothes, cars, airplanes, space ships, rockets, guns, hair, jewelry. You can write scripts that enhance the things you build or the accessories/jewelry you wear, or change the things your avatar is capable of doing. Design your dream house in 3D ...

You can see replicas of real-world places you might not otherwise get to go. There's a virtual Sistine Chapel.

But funnily enough even if you DON'T have a creative bone in your body there is still plenty to do in Second Life aside of sex & gambling. You can get a friend and go race go-karts. Explore - there are things aside of black box casinos and virtual brothels to see. Open your eyes.

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Title

Hello,

I am the owner of Spinach Games, Highflyer Games, and Sprawler Games, which are virtual casinos in Second Life, covering around 82,500m of land.

I opened Spinach Games in October 2006 after reading Second Life suggesting running a casino, lottery operator, and gamer at http://secondlife.com/whatis/businesses.php (they updated the list on 26th July 2007 but I have an old offline version). I have spend approximately US$15,000 on virtual land costs and buying games as well as working there up to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.

On Wednesday, 25th July 2007, Second Life posted http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/07/25/wagering-in-second-life-new-policy/ on their blog despite they suggesting running a casino. This new policy effectively means that all my games are now worth US$0 because they are no longer usable or sellable. I effectively have no other option other than delete my games, sell my land for around US$2500 and ‘give up’ the US$12,500 & 1 years work.

Nevertheless, I feel that Second Life are severely wrong by suggesting running a casino and then telling us it’s against their policy, without any warning or compensation.

It was literally like this:-

At 4:04pm on July 25th:-

There was a suggestion by SL to run a casino and I had US$12,500 (real money) worth of games, most of which were resellable.

At 4:06pm on July 25th:-

It was not OK to run a casino and I was forced to close. My games are now worth nothing because nobody can use them.

I do understand that in real life, running a casino with no licence is illegal but because Second Life suggested it and because they use virtual money, and because there were many other casinos in Second Life, I presumed that it was OK.

I feel that Second Life should have given us 3months notice. I had just brought another 72 copiable slot machines for L$230,000 and 20 Solo games for L$55,000 but didn't even get chance to rez them.

I just do not understand why or what has made me lose US$12,500. I did as SL suggested.

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Main problem: convertability

Well I just wonder why did Linden Labs cross the boundary of the First Life by making this Linden Dollars convertible?

They should make an end to this and make it a one-way process - you buy Linden Dollar - you are stuck with Linden Dollar. Plain and simple.

Then you could gamble as much as you want in-game and nobody would bother about it, because you could only use the money in the game to buy new things for your characters or (in-game) friends. You become rich or die trying - all virtually.

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Anonymous Coward

This has been coming for years

Jon Carl Khairule: The US gambling crackdown isn't a new thing. You knew the servers were in the US and the arrest of various online gambling people made the news (in the UK anyway). You should have researched your area before investing $15,000 USD on it.

Azrael: I think the key thing will be RELY on chance. I am not the Lindens but I presume that skill based games (Tringo et al) will be fine. Bingo is mainly chance based but this will all depend on how they implement their new policy. It doesn't necessarily mean that they will use the most conservative interpretation of the policy possible.

I don't think the sky has fallen in - yet.

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Re: This has been coming for years

You're right, the sky hasn't fallen in yet.

And I do think that, broadly, the interpretation that games "relying" on chance are the ones on the axe make sense. I don't think that's the whole story, I bet the lindens will be unhappy about gambling card games, even ones that are largely about skill. It's more about the gambling than the chance, to my understanding. But you're right, if we made a racing game where you could win money, even if there were elements of chance, I doubt there would be any problems.

I don't think the sky has fallen in. They will never want to ban people from making games in SL, and rewarding with L$

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Anonymous Coward

Big Crunch

Way to go, Linden. In less than a week, they were able to reproduce one of the things SL residents wanted to run away from: economic depression, bank runs, market crashes, cash crunch.

Ginko Financial (one of the largest "virtual bank" services in SL) ran out of reserves because of a bank run caused by the smackdown on gambling. People who were making a living for owning casinos have seen their main source of income gone. And thanks to the bank run, my deposits, small as they may be, might be lost forever.

If they went out of their way to legally explain that the L$ is not real currency but "toy money", why didn't they stick on that definition for gambling? If toy money gambling was illegal, then Monopoly or other similar games would be, by definition, illegal.

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Second Life need to move

Gambling (and sex) is what's support Second Life. if Linden Lab have one once of judgement (but they don't, as SL is the just a pile of random lines of codes that produce a extremly instable "viewer" and even after petition(s) from residents they keep adding new features instead of fixing the client that has been broken since day one) they will simply move out of the states. then they just have to prevent gamgling from illegaly oppressed US citizens. (the only reason the U.S. puppet goverment is preventing online gambling is to help they "friends" who run traditional casinos and also they have not yet figure out a way to STEAL 25% of the winnings as they in conventional casino)

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