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  1. #1
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    Default Update on Second Life - virtual Internet gambling banned

    Interesting article from Monsters and Critics, which details the gamblinling possibilities in Second Life, a virtual online gaming world.

    Basically, you can get "Linden Dollars" for US dollars, which you can then use to gamble in virtual casinos in the game. Apparently three poker room operators are pulling in $1,500 a month. But it's probably not legal, at least according to the sources in the story ...

    http://tech.monstersandcritics.com/n..._virtual_world

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    Hi all,


    frankly I don't see a difference. you're still trading dollars for ... chips so to speak. Anything that can be converted to real money .... I would think would fall under the same scrutiny.

    I suppose it might be a bit harder to track if you gambled .... then used the linden dollars to buy something else in the linden virtual world.

    $1500 a month .... not a fortune by any means fora poker room however.
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    I was just about to post on this same thing - I saw an article on Yahoo news. The funny thing is that lawyers allege Linden Labs can be held liable under UIGEA since they are facilitating the transaction, much like a bank... But yet the DOJ wont tell them if they see it as legal or not...
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    I've seen conflicting reports on whether Linden Labs officially sanctions the transfer of Linden Dollars into real-world currency. Although, I do know that there are other MMORPGs (massively-multiplayer online role-playing games, the category of games to which Second Life belongs) in which exchange for real-world currency is explicitly forbidden but nonetheless does occur. There are interesting questions about legal risk especially for games where the company's policy prohibits exchange of in-game money or in-game items for real-world money. In some cases there are earnest attempts to control these exchanges, but the scale on which they occur and the ease of doing them in discrete ways makes stopping them very difficult.

    There is also the question of enforcement of property-related laws in a world where disregard for property laws is an integral part of game play. In Eve Online, for example, some guy opened a bank to which players deposited their in-game money, and then one day ran off with all the deposited funds. It caused a stir, but given that the. The types of behaviors that are criminal in the real world represent a significant aspect of the play in many of these games -- you go out killing other characters so that you can take their stuff, it doesn't get much more clear that the whole environment is playful. So, it is very difficult for me to make sense of gambling laws applying to these worlds even property laws don't. But I'm not that familiar with the environment of Second Life enough to know whether in-game theft is permissible.

    The whole situation of valuing in-game currency and items becomes even more complicated by tax law related to barter arrangements. Congress has discussed the idea of taxing game currency -- see http://secondlife.reuters.com/storie...tual-economies.

    I heard of these kinds of exchnages a while ago reading about a guy who bought a virtual space station for over $100,000 in real-world money and converted it into a destination resort complete with night clubs (with an in-game cover charge to get in and famous DJs playing). At the time I joked that Casino City would have to create a new category of gaming properties for the directory if they ever added a casino to the resort. Who knew it would turn into more than a joke?
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    The "Linden Dollar" is acting exactly as a processor for funding online gaming sites. The only way they may be able to get around it is that their online gaming sites are not a "true" online casino.... Its a transfer of funds....

    Also, $1500 a month revenue is not that much money, considering they said that they have millions of members. Also, something else that popped into my head was that how do you know the "legitimy" of the games, and if they are fair.

    Since they are not a "real" online casino, they probably do not have to be regulated under any gaming commission or license, making it so that there may not be any regulation for the site.

    I will stick to playing "real" online gaming sites, where I know if I have any questions about them, I can google them and find 1,000,000 sites that have reviews and post about them in forums, which will give me a better understanding of whether I should play at their site.

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    Second Life says they don't know of any investigation into them for gambling, but they have changed their gambling policy.
    It has been a basic tenet of Second Life that all Residents are legally responsible for their own activities and for complying with the laws of the local jurisdiction in which they reside. However, given the ambiguities of the issues, Linden Lab has decided that we will not accept any classified ads, place listings, or event listings that appear to relate to simulated casino activity.
    http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/04/0...olicy-changes/

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    Default New regs from Second Life

    This is a great article ...

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07...nden_gambling/

    Second Life has changed its policy and no longer allows gambling in its virtual world whatsoever ... and leave it to Burke Hansen at The Register to write a biting criticism of the whole idea.

    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.
    The article includes all of the changes included in the policy, and Hansen notes that the end of the following quote has a "narc clause."

    If we discover gambling activities that violate the policy, we will remove all related objects from the inworld environment, may suspend or terminate the accounts of residents involved without refund or payment, and may report any relevant details, including user information, to authorities and financial institutions.
    If you read nothing else for entertainment today, read this story.

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    Default More on Second Life

    This story is everywhere this morning ...

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/...leID=201201449

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