If Its Gambling – It’s Gone

by Alphaville Herald on 28/07/07 at 7:54 pm

Resident Reaction to LL Gambling Ban

by Jessica Holyoke

know your limits

The talk of the metaverse for has been the wednesday afternoon blog post in which the Lindens ban betting machines that rely on a randomly generated numbers to declare a winner – and also banned betting on real-life sporting events. Although the new policy is posted in the blog and knowledge base, it have not included it with the Terms of Service or with the Community Standards. Granted, everyone can see the blog post when they log in, but it doesn’t hold the same ‘resident agrees to do this’ strength as placing the policy immediately into the ToS.

While other reports of gambling machines and unscrupulous casino owners or gamblers have come in, other games of chance, not typically associated with casinos, also rely on random number generation. While slingo might be considered a game of skill, it still relies on random number generation. Additionally, money sploders go off randomly and presumably rely on a randomly generated number to decide who is the winner. But residents don’t consider sploders and slingo the same thing as a slot machine.

The operative term that might affect some resident’s activities is the beginning portion of the restriction. “It is a violation of this policy to wager.” If a slingo machine is set to free play, then there is no wagering going on. (No bet, no risk, no wager) The official policy from Linden Labs will come out more precisely in the next community meeting and in the weeks to come.

This policy brings up all the jurisdictional issues that residents see in Second Life. And while the majority of residents are not US citizens, the Lindens still reside in San Francisco, USA and have decided to go with the safest compliance route of getting rid of all gambling in SL, including the sports betting.

Residents wonder about random give-aways

In traveling to the most popular casinos on the grid immediately after the ban, the traffic did not seem to have diminished. Many residents were still occupying their favorite chairs in front of their favorite machines. When asked to comment, most residents were either camping, or more intent on their gambling experience. Some believe that if the slot machine simply reimburses you for camping, wagering is not going on and its not gambling. Another resident pointed out how gambling was how he got his money to do the other things available in SL. That remark reminded me that money trees, formerly very popular have declined in appearance and I wonder what could come to replace them in the future.

I traveled to Four Deuces Entertainment Island. This location featured both types of prohibited gambling activity, machines and sports betting. Four Deuces Entertainment CEO t0xic Scissor had this to say “We are saddened to see this day come in SL. Although the LL TOS refers to the Linden dollar as having no value, it seems this will have to be changed. Four Deuces Entertainment will continue with other avenues of entertainment here in Second Life and will comply with all LL policy regarding gambling”

Residents might be left to wonder, how does this affect me? Well, one way that non-gamblers are affected is by the fact that the World Stock Exchange has a number of companies listed that are casin…I mean gaming palaces. One company, Myths Poker House, went from $1.90L per share pre-announcement to $0.11L per share post-announcement as residents took out their equity in the now illegal companies in the hours following the announcement.

Reaction from some of the more notorious residents of the metaverse was similar. Herald staff learned that the gambling ban convinced Tizzers Foxchase to scuttle a casino-themed /b/tard build that was in the planning stages. There was no work on what effect the casino ban might have on the goons in Baku or the in-world militia – but it is unlikely that most goons and griefers will tangle with the Lindens over gambling.

Meanwhile, Anzo Simmons of the PalmVegas.com on-line casino contacted the Herald with news that his company has two tactics in play. The first is to reopen their in-world casino as a “Play for Free” casino. The restrictions are very clear about wagering but not random giveaways. The second tactic is to offer their online software to users who come to the casino. PalmVegas is still offering the other SL specific branding, go-carts and beachs for instance, but they are changing and adapting to the situation presented by the Lindens. Previously the PalmVegas also offered cybersex classes, but these have been discontinued for some time now.

The gambling ban may signals the start of some economic effects. Gamblers won’t be spending on machines and bringing money in through the Lindex. Their winnings won’t be redistributed though out the economy. Casino owners won’t be paying tier and bringing money out. The land the casinos are on will go up for sale, possibly depressing land prices – which may touch the community at large. The Lindens are doing the right thing by being compliant with US law. It is up to the rest of the community to keep up with the changes as well.

18 Responses to “If Its Gambling – It’s Gone”

  1. Sn4x15

    Jul 28th, 2007


  2. Lem Skall

    Jul 29th, 2007

    Did someone in SL Herald edit this article? It doesn’t look like it.

  3. Inigo Chamerberlin

    Jul 29th, 2007

    ‘everyone can see the blog post when they log in’

    Sorry, not the case. That stupid loading screen takes forever to load (at 8Mbps), I haven’t seen it for ages – when I want to log on, I want to log on. Not sit waiting for a crappy loading screen for 5 minutes!
    I’m pretty sure from remarks overheard that I’m not alone in this.

  4. Webfeed Central

    Jul 29th, 2007

    Im Quitting Second Life – Heres Why

    All of the land that I once owned for rentals in Second Life has been sold. It only took about a week to sell it all, at the prices that I was asking. While that was happening, I bought a nice little 7200 square meter plot of land that was located dire…

  5. Second Lulz Vigilante

    Jul 29th, 2007


    You had nothing better to do on a Saturday night than reply to an article about some boring gambling shit? Har har! That sucks!

  6. janeforyou Barbara

    Jul 29th, 2007

    Secondlife was never ment to be a ” Gambling” place,, its a place were we can create lovly fun places and items and not monygambling to ripp off players, i herd players use up to 1000 RL USD just cuz thay get promice big winns! To your all info: Monygambling are loosing mony

  7. Tony

    Jul 30th, 2007

    There’s a lot of talk of legalities and a lot of talk of US laws. However a couple of things are being overlooked here. One is the suddent announcement from Linden Labs which is not a good precedent for anyone intending to invest money.

    The other issue is the comments from the Lindens themselves. Robin Linden’s email to Reuters for example where they quote as her saying:

    “There was no precipitating event or investigation that led to this decision. It was a business decision.”


    That really isn’t an encouraging statement at all.

  8. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 30th, 2007

    The comments here seem very quiet and reasonable. Just in passing.

    Lem: I’m still fairly new to writing for the Herald. But I hear that there’s always been problems with the typesetters.

    Inigo: I wish I had the case in front of me, but there’s a British case where part of the company’s defense was that the notice of a change in policy was featured on the webpage that you accessed as you first used the service. The customer and the court agreed that you don’t agree to anything just because you add a contract provision and expect the customer to seek out the change and agree to it for something the customer already is getting value for. It seemed like the Lindens, by posting on the blogpost, is trying to save them the hassle of updating the software and updating the ToS at that time with this new policy.

  9. Jessica Holyoke

    Jul 30th, 2007

    I think Tony has a comment that should be responded to more widely. A few months back, I was involved with some of the Robin Linden Office hours regarding the “Broadly Offensive” limitations that the Labs were trying to impose on the residents. Their standard then, as now, is whether or not they will allow the content if it is bad for the community overall. Which was then described as whether it was good for the Labs’ overall business growth and they reserved the right to determine what bad for overall business growth might be.

    And while there might have been no event or investigation that precipated this decision, even though the FBI did not render an opinion on gambling in SL when they investigated back in April, that can still mean that the Lindens made the policy change in response to a change of law.

    But it can also be a business decision to not involve themselves in fraud investigations, and potential future lawsuits, of casino transactions that go bad.

  10. SqueezeOne Pow

    Jul 30th, 2007

    Well, as someone who owns land in order to build and enjoy myself on it instead of trying to make a profit off of it, I look forward to the drop in prices! I have a few ideas for huge builds that I’d like to make a reality. The falling land prices might encourage some free guys to go premium…if the fucking game ever started working again after this weekend!!!

  11. Lisae Boucher

    Jul 30th, 2007

    Good point, SqueezeOne…
    But it’s the tier that makes land expensive, not the price of the land itself. It would actually be bad if land prices drop for those who already have large amounts of land. (Like me, I own half a region.) If land prices go down, it actually means that current land owners might lose a lot of money, thus they start selling as long as it has still some value. Which would result in prices going even lower until the land price itself is worthless. And then what, when the big landowners are gone and everyone has a small patch of 512 sq.m or less?
    But then again, I don’t think the loss of casino’s will have a big impact. Most sane people won’t even trust those casino’s that are online in SL since you never know if they will pay out.

  12. Non Compliant

    Jul 30th, 2007

    How the new policy effects you

    New & Existing Residents:

    CAMPING – 98% of all camping was funded & brought to us by casino’s running
    slot machines.. New residents as well as existing residents camp to pay
    tiers on their homes, buy clothes, furniture & other objects.. Slot machines
    were first introduced to Second Life by Philip Linden.. NOW BANNED

    Life has or had sploders, raffle balls & games of chance allowing anyone to
    enter for a small fee & trying their luck at winning a piece of the pot…
    though not specifically listed they all fall under the broad description of
    the new policy.. NOW BANNED

    KENO, SLINGO, TRINGO, ZYNGO etc. – all lotteries relying on a random number
    generation to pick a winner.. all a major source of many residents income in
    SL. These games were something everyone could do & many paid their tiers off
    the prizes & profits… though not all specifically listed they all fall
    under the broad description of the new policy.. NOW BANNED

    EMPLOYMENT – Casino’s & Poker Houses employed thousands of residents in
    Second Life.. Dealers, Hosts, Security, Scriptors, Builders, etc..
    Legitimate employment, a job you could be proud of & didnt have to hide from
    your Real Life family.. a job that didnt force you to sell your avatar for
    anothers pleasure or be nude/nearly nude to work at.. a job where people
    respected you & didnt treat you like a piece of meat only there for their
    pleasure. These employees purchased millions of items, houses, clothes etc
    in second life.. NO INCOME .. NO PURCHASING..

    LIVE MUSIC – think the new policy & lack of lindens flowing in SL from
    gambling, casino’s, poker houses, wont effect it.. think again.. each live
    artist charges an average of 3,000L or more per hour they play at a venue,
    most listeners dont tip the venues or tip very little.. they give it to the
    artist.. the average venue doesnt even recoup 1/3 the cost of the artist
    back in tips/donations…. most places live artists play are in some way
    supported by some form of gambling, sploders, raffle balls, games of chance
    & those gamblers, owners & employees of casino’s & poker houses.. the
    lindens are no longer flowing, the casino’s & clubs are closing or reducing
    thier overhead.. fewer places for live artists to play & even fewer that can
    afford to bring them to thier venues. .

    All this because of the law in some states of the US not all i might add.
    The reason for this law has nothing to so with tight assed christian
    faux-moralists. It is simply that the gambling industry in Las Vegas and
    Atlantic City went to the US Congress, to whom they are a major comapign
    contributor, and asked for the law because they felt online gambling might
    cut into their revenue. Simple as that.

    Please sign this petition http://www.thekonstrukt.com click on the picture
    for gambling and any others you may come across, if we stick at it and dont
    spend any lindens it will hit LL hard they may have to weight up this
    against cost of moving servers offshore from the police state supposed to be
    land of the free USA.

    Oh and a word of warning. New laws were recently passed regarding internet radio stations. LL do not offer what is played on these streams in exactly the way they dont offer online gambling, whether it is pirated or not, whether the stream is licensed or not. You can soon expect those to go away next. That would effect all radio streams within Second Life, independant dj’s, live musicians, clubs, etc. Don’t think it will happen? If you thought you were safe, think again.

  13. SqueezeOne Pow

    Jul 30th, 2007


    I was never concerned about the tier because that actually goes toward the game to me. I was annoyed that I’d have to pay 2 month’s tier just to BUY a 1024m2 plot (for example) and pay tier ON TOP OF THAT!!

    And people who like to build and do creative, non-profit type things with their land aren’t likely to be too upset if the value goes down for a while. It’s bound to go back up once things level out.

    I’m just patiently waiting for the exodus of angry ex-gamblers and ageplayers to free up the servers!

  14. Stacey Sugar

    Jul 31st, 2007

    Wondering if the banning of casino games was one of the ways LindenLabs could improve the top 20 popular place list, since the majority on the list prior to the gambling ban were camping & casinos. I heard that LindenLabs were going to do something to make the popular place list more of benefit to users, than just casinos & camping grounds. Banning of casino games would in some way affect the top 20 listing.

  15. Lisae Boucher

    Jul 31st, 2007

    SqueezeOne, I’m not upset either since my land itself doesn’t generate any profit by itself. Am renting spaces to others for a ridiculous low price even, not to make a profit but just to generate a bit more traffic. It’s more a place to promote myself but since someone hired my SL skills for a few months I’m not even available anymore.

    For most people, owning land is a good way for self-promotion but it does mean you need something to offer. A simple mall could be okay but reality is that they’re unlikely to generate huge profits. Especially newbies are not likely to pay huge amounts just for the ownership of a couple of bits and bytes.

    I think getting rid of casino’s will mean that more companies will start using SL for advertisements. I myself have already considered making big signs to put on my land which others could rent to have their banners displayed. Preferably with a landmark linked to the image. And if gambling is banned, I think many will use advertisements as the next big commercial enterprise within SL.

    I do wonder how many people are working on large non-profit projects, though. Land equals prims and large projects need quite a few prims. You could work together as a group, though. Buy some group land and let every member pay her share. But can you trust all the group member? There’s always a chance that the group owner would just kick out everyone who donated land and then keep it all for himself.

    I’m still not convinced that the loss of casino and gambling will have a big impact on the SL economy. Something will replace it, probably advertising… :-)

  16. SqueezeOne Pow

    Jul 31st, 2007

    Well Lisae, risk is inherent in anything where everyone is anonymous and has a good chance of escaping any consequences of their actions. This is why I don’t take SL very seriously and why I don’t share with anyone!

    I wouldn’t be too sure about the advertising, though. RL corporations are on their way out because their advertising projects were utter failures. SL companies already have their ways to advertise and there is a steadily-growing anti-ad farm movement that has been gaining momentum…not to say LL will listen to anyone’s complaints but you never know!

  17. Lisae Boucher

    Jul 31st, 2007

    Because of those risks, the only person with whom I share happens to be my girlfriend and since we even share a room, no problems. :-)
    And advertising can happen in many forms, not just with big banners. Just consider putting a camping chair somewhere in a room full commercials. Maybe give the campers a notecard even with some advertisements in it. Or use some other trick to keep visitors to interact with something that also gives out advertisements. I have quite a few useful ideas about that but if I share them all here, I’d lose my job. :-)
    The anti-ad farm? Yeah, am supporting them since ad-farms are useless. There’s an ad-farm next to one of my lands promoting Jesus and I don’t see many visitors there either. Then again, religion might also be something that will attract more visitors. Or maybe something else, but something will just replace it. People are creative that way.

  18. Father Jones

    Sep 9th, 2009

    Second Life anno 2009: Too many people are still losing too much money on Zyngo. And it is for sure a gambling game first class. Even with the blue and green jokers, it is definitly a game of chance, like bingo is considered one. Talking about too much money, I mean like people playing for 1000 USD in one hour. Did you guys ever searched for high roller places with Zyngo? You can play machines there for 5000 (17 USD)up to 50000 Linden Dollars (175 USD) a game, with pots to win up to 1 million Linden Dollars (3500 USD). And that is what the creator of the game and the owners of those places call an innocent game of skill for fun? I wonder when someone will have the guts to bring this to the right people, the press, the financial company’s Linden Lab is depending on, and also of course the US government,… We are not only talking about Zyngo in this matter. There are lots of ‘zyngo-clones’ produced lately by other programmers that are made for the very same purpose: making huge money, not just the money you need to buy you a pair of shoes, a piece of land and a house to live in your virtual world. Millions of dollars are running around in this gamblingbusiness on Second Life. Anyone doubting my words: just take a look yourself inworld.

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