The Disneyification of the Second Life

by Alphaville Herald on 26/07/07 at 1:09 am

Splashing bleach on SL – metaverse sanitized for your protection

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Your world, your imagination – except for gambling

Robin Linden, v.p. for management and community development at Linden Lab, today announced an impressive new plan to sanitize gambling from the Second Life experience. While Robin was careful to point out that “Linden Lab does not offer an online gambling service”, and note that some real life locations and laws allow gambling, the metaverse game gods have now chosen to “actively enforce” a metaverse-wide gambling ban. This is a significant change from past practice.

Penalties for virtual betting parlor operators include suspension or termination of the accounts of residents involved “without refund or payment” – the virtual world equivalent of the death penalty. This would seem to mean that any and all assets – even assets accumulated through legal means – could be forfeit.

Since SL is largely an entertainment vehicle, the removal of gambling may have a significant impact on the in-world economy. This could be an unfortunate time for an economic shock, since a number of indicators suggest the virtual world’s economy could be tipping into a recession. The policy change could also impact Linden Lab’s bottom line. An expanding economy allows the Lab to print and sell more L$ virtual currency – a source of almost pure profit which can help counterbalance the large fixed expenses the metaverse service provider incurs running it’s server farm. A total gambling ban is almost certain to depress the demand for virtual land, which could impact the land tax or “tier” payments that players make to maintain their “investments” in virtual land.

In spite of these concerns, a number of residents found a silver lining to the news – with fewer players online, perhaps the grid will perform more reliably.

Long term observers of LL were surprised by the timing of the announcement. Generally, Robin Linden’s unpleasant surprise announcements come late on friday afternoons. Some speculated that this announcement may have been the result of impending legal action, although it is unclear what might have prompted this, since gambling has been a mainstay of the Second Life experience for years. However, in recent months, the Lab appears to have taken a less playful view toward the world, and has mounted a number of cleanup efforts on resident-created content.

We understand that Robin Linden does have significant experience with marketing disinfectant – based on previous work with Clorox. Hopefully the citizens that made the wold in Second Life will have an affinity for strong cleaners – but we have our doubts.

64 Responses to “The Disneyification of the Second Life”

  1. Inyur

    Jul 27th, 2007


    Excuse me…but THE WORLD WIDE WEB IS NOT THE USA WIDE WEB! I hate this kind of thinking. Comply with this ,,!,,

  2. Flix Saiman

    Jul 27th, 2007

    Ok.. just to clear this up for some who dont live in the US. According to the US Wire act (an anti internet gambling act previous used for sports betting but upgraded to include all forms of gambling off the internet, poker, casinos, etc) It is ulawful in the US currently to use any form of gambling via the internet that has a value fixed to it.. Linden was just operating illegally for years. The main reason i never set up a casino, card room whatever.. was because I KNEW this was going to happen.. to be honest I thought it would have happened bout 4 months ago when we were getting alot of press. I guess that they were a bit slower than I thought or they were just laundering some extra cash before they jumped ship. But this will not affect 95% of SL .. casinos did not provide any form of currency back into our enviorment like real life ones do.. real life casinos offer jobs, pay taxes, do alot for their commiunites. SL casinos just suck up the cash from your potential sales. IMO Good riddence.

    Now on your questions on sploders and such..

    Slingo (and those related to those) will prolly be banned because they are a form of bingo (which is not a game of skill but a random number generator that awards a prize) its a very very borderline subject for that.. as far as single slingos, and such those will definatly be seen as slot machines and taken down.. Sploders imo in thier current configaration are definatlly a gambling machine, that being said I know of 3-4 different scripters already working on a version that would bypass any laws and make them useable.. even dare i say even more fun.

    There will be a bit of land sale that will suffer because of all the land that the casinos that will prolly dump now.. but imo.. this is a good step in a good direction for SL.

    For those people who think that this is an affront of your rights in SL. Linden labs is in the US. gambling is a huge subject right now for most politicians (especially internet gambling) which is why this was a HUGE deal vs say porn, etc. that is the main reason that this was done now.. Will SL rights be hit evenuntally .. i dont know.. but casinos are a thing that is waaay past its time.. good riddence!

  3. Luca V

    Jul 27th, 2007

    This gambling ban is to do with L$ transactions at heart. We can still gamble with say… prim coins or beans.

  4. Nicholaz Beresford

    Jul 27th, 2007

    )) When I discovered SL only a couple of months ago, one of the biggest attractions for me was for the first time in many decades I felt truly free, unfettered by all the weight of government pressing down on me under the pretense of trying to protect me from myself. They seem to think they know what is best for me as an individual in just about every aspect of life. ((


  5. SLJustice

    Jul 27th, 2007

    Dedicated to virtual freedoms for avatars everywhere.


  6. Nina A

    Jul 27th, 2007

    There are plenty of gambling places still available in SL. LL aren’t policing it very seriously! If I had the money I’d set up my own gambling den speakeasy. Prohibition can make it more fun.

  7. Diri

    Jul 27th, 2007

    I’m confused by these people who accuse casinos of only being Linden sink holes, without moving Lindens back around the grid. I find this unlikely, because from what I’ve seen most casinos also have camp chairs/pads. Even if you have to play a game to get the camper started, they generally allow you to make back more than the money you put up to start it, and dance pads generally just give Lindens without putting up a payment.

    A casino with 10 dance pads operating 24/7 at 24L/10 min gives out 2880 $L in a 24 hour period. Those Lindens then go into the pockets of those who then spend them at your stores, and on stippers, and so forth. This also doesn’t count the Lindens that leave the casino to purchase new accouterments for the casino, and Lindens that the casino owners spend to enjoy their own second lives.

    Its fine if you hate casinos (or camping, for that matter) but please don’t act like they aren’t forms of redistributing Lindens around the grid. If you’re going to accuse casinos of being economic sink holes, level the same charges at the big, successful stores – who often don’t even provide campers as a way of redistributing their earnings.

  8. MoneyMan Time

    Jul 27th, 2007

    So – let me think about this a second…

    Since LL is claiming that $Ls are REAL MONEY…

    and they “print” as many $Ls as they like…

    …does that make SL an international counterfeiting ring?

  9. Alaska Metro

    Jul 27th, 2007

    I have to say, I’m unimpressed with the casino ban. It doesn’t matter whether or not one LIKES the casinos (and no one does when one ends up next door to your McMansion full o’ sex balls, lagging your special time.) I just think as a person over the age of majority I should choose what I do with my time and money. If I want to gamble, I should be able to. I understand in the “land of the free” one can’t actually gamble online anymore, it’s now illegal. But if the TOS says the L$ has no value as such, then we’re NOT gambling with real money and it’s NOT illegal.

    So does the L$ now have value in and of itself? If so, then LL should not be able to take away your account balance when you’re banned. That’s theft, isn’t it? What confusing messages this company sends.

    If we’re complying with the moral and legal governmental decisions of the US here, I’d suggest gay marriage is the next thing to go, not online prostitution. ;) Wonder how they’d enforce THAT one?

  10. SqueezeOne Pow

    Jul 27th, 2007

    “I’m confused by these people who accuse casinos of only being Linden sink holes, without moving Lindens back around the grid…”

    You are right that a small amount of L$ goes into the pockets of n00bs and non-builder/sellers from camping even when it requires playing a game, but the amount going to campers is miniscule compared to what these guys were making. That was just their advertising budget essentially.

    Everything I’ve seen shows that many of the casino owners out there pretty much just cashed their L$ profit out and put it in their RL wallet. The casino owners I’ve met still had n00b skin and generic hair and clothes!

    I’m sure they used alts, but still, if they were doing this to make money to put back into their own personal entertainment in SL then these places would at least have some style.

    My beef with them was how they are (a) a rip off (never trust a computer program made by the house to generate a TRULY random number and (b) an eyesore and as bad as ad farms (which I suspect a lot of these now empty parcels will turn into).

    I’ve said this a bunch, but if someone made a Casino Royale looking place with style and class and some sort of HUD-based system that counted chips instead of L$ then I bet the fun would still be there!

    I’d go!!

  11. ugh

    Jul 27th, 2007

    “Neither can I because the hobo is a thief. When Harald drops something in a trash can it belongs to him until it is collected and the ownership is transferred to the waste manager. (Yet again is it amazing how clueless Americans are about ownership.) If you don’t believe this, do a small test. Drop a nuclear missile to your waste can and when the police army arrives, try to claim that you don’t own it anymore.”

    On May 16, 1988 the U. S. Supreme Court confirmed that there is no expectation of privacy, or ownership, once an item is left for garbage pickup.

    CALIFORNIA v. GREENWOOD, 486 U.S. 35 (1988) see at:

    Just because the source of an item can be traced to the person who threw it away(in your nuke example) doesn’t mean they still own it. Once it hits the sidewalk, it’s up for grabs, unless the local city/state/county laws prohibit that sort of thing. Yet again it’s amazing how obnoxious people are with their snarky anti-american comments.

  12. Anonymous

    Jul 27th, 2007

    i never went to casinos personally. but i think they did contribute to the economy in several ways. ok so now they will be gone and land prices should fall a bit i assume.
    the sex for pay would be next on the linden hit list im thinking. after closing all the obvious outlets, the advertised escort businesses and locations, then all the profiles with listed dollar amounts, i think that just like rl, it will continue to go on in an underground kind of way.

  13. Allahgod Buddhispaghetti Smith

    Jul 27th, 2007

    I’m God and I’m in your Second Life touching your stuff…

  14. Lisae Boucher

    Aug 1st, 2007

    Quote: ok so now they will be gone and land prices should fall a bit i assume.

    Maybe, yes. People just panic about all the news about this and since land equals cash, it’s likely they’ll start selling like crazies…
    Then others will decide to buy all this cheap land and set up rooms for rental shops and maybe other activities. Rental land is extremely popular within SL and it only has two limitations: price of the land and the price for the monthly tier.

    Which brings out another point. Land prices don’t have a lot of influence on people who buy or sell it. For the land-barons it will matter a bit, but for others? It’s an amount you pay once. It’s the monthly tier that’s the bigger limit and that’s not going down. Casino’s will disappear but something will soon replace it.

    Prostitution, perhaps? Not likely because it means that you need to be online with your hooker avatar pleasing your customer and you would need to charge huge prices if you want to make a decent income. But any escort service or dating service would be able to make a decent income since they just have to provide a service. They don’t have to be online all the time.

    Two things make SL expensive. The first one is tier and the second one is the amount of time you’re spending online. Tier is a disadvantage for individuals but not much of a problem for companies. Time however is no problem for individuals but real expensive for companies who need to hire employees to run their businesses. So there’s a trade-off here. We need individuals to walk around and explore since companies need an audience. (Or customers.) And we need companies to make big investments to keep the whole thing interesting and organized.

    And keep in mind that the main grid is technically adult-only. Still, you could wonder if LL will change that in the future if their age verification system turns out to be a failure. Making SL more minor-friendly would then be a good alternative.

    I’ve heard suggestions that LL should just migrate everything to Europe because Europeans are more open-minded. That is true for things like sexuality but gambling is probably more restricted here. And Europe does have a few more limitations on Free Speech, especially concerning racism and insulting comments. Not sure what happens in the USA with people who insult the President but recently in the Netherlands, two persons have been arrested and fined for insulting the Queen. So even here there are some trade-offs.

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