Casino Gambling Returns To Second Life

by Alphaville Herald on 17/08/08 at 8:21 pm

Does Linden Lab approve of gambling for Z$s purchased with L$s ?

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

Z$s cannot be converted to L$s — so you can cash out here

Just over a year ago, Linden Lab banned gambling in Second Life, a change that sent the in-world economy into a tailspin as virtual casinos across the grid shut down and gamblers took flight from the Lab’s virtual world entertainment product. But now, the casinos are back — operating under an interesting interpretation of both US law, and apparently within the Linden’s Terms of Service, according to the virtual casino owners.

How is this possible? The creators of the Z$ Zorkmid fictitious currency claim there is a loophole in both the TOS and US law. By using a fictitious currency which cannot be converted directly into L$s, playing games of chance is not really gambling – instead it is a harmless and legal entertainment.

After not gambling on roulette, slot machines, black jack, and similar amusements, pretend punters can pay L$1 to play a game of skill and convert their Z$ winnings into L$s. The object of this game is to match pairs of identical images – with a two minute time limit. The level of skill required is such that most metaverse residents are very unlikely to lose unless they are subject to one of the seemingly random crashes of the SL client software – or massive lag.

Z$ gaming appears to be popular – the SL client search returns around 300 matches for a search on “Zorkmid”, and I made several visits to a number of Z$ casinos to make some short term speculative investments with the high-risk portion of the SL Herald pension fund.

the Herald pension fund is growing – thanks to blackjack

At first, I was troubled by idea that I would need to establish a Z$ account – but buying Z$s from a vendor seemed to take care of that automatically. I was also spared the trouble of reading a “Terms and Conditions of Use” agreement until after I clicked OK to agree to establish an account – the notecard with the agreement arrived once I clicked to OK button. Apparently the legal system in metaverse casinos does not require informed consent.

you have agreed, and we’ll tell you what you agreed to in a minute

Linden Governance team members seem strangely reluctant to directly address the question of the legality of the Z$ gambling scheme. I talked with Socrates Linden and three other G-team Lindens during the G-team office hours Saturday but Socrates was more interested in touting a Torley Linden video than answering questions about gambling policy – I was invited to file an abuse report if I felt there was a problem. The Z$ casinos say that they have abuse reported themselves without any ill effect, and are now claiming tacit approval for their scheme from Linden Lab.

Reliable sources say that at least two Linden staffers have privately told residents that the Z$ scheme passes muster and residents are passing the good word. Could gambling growth lead to reversing the loss of premium land owning accounts in SL? A certain reluctance to go totally public on this policy issue is unsurprising, and allows the Lab to benefit from the growth generated by gambling without being subject to real world legal scrutiny — at least for now.

No Linden disciplinary action must mean Z$ gambling is OK, right?

Gambling in SL is not limited to people – even furries are known to try their luck. I met a gambling cat at one of the casinos. Topaz Hawker had just started exploring the games and had not yet settled on a favorite, then excused himself to go take a nap, saying “it exhausting to get up from nap playing mouse stretch and then catch another nap”.

feline furry gamblers approve

On my way out of the Zynadu South casino, I stopped to play a slot machine originally created by Philip Linden, now retro-fitted to work with Z$ spacebux. I’m sure Philip is proud of the residents’ creativity – and with LL apparently accepting the Z$ approach to gambling, can we look forward to a growing population of cats gambling in SL?

L$ spacebux were invented to allow for in-world gambing?

Philip Linden’s slot machine is back in business!

25 Responses to “Casino Gambling Returns To Second Life”

  1. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Aug 17th, 2008

    5th picture looks like Serious Cat.

    Aside from that, truely hilarious. Creating a fictitious currency to convert *1-to-1* with *another* fictitious currency is A-Ok with the Lindens?

    If that’s the case, it almost sounds as if they’re secretly desperate to get gambling back in.

  2. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Aug 17th, 2008

    Actually, disregard my entire previous post. …Except from the bit about serious cat.

    That ‘notice to players and linden agents’ is just priceless. It STATES that, once again, the payout is down random number generation.

    I give this place approximately 48 hours before it gets raped in the ass.

  3. FlipperPA Peregrine

    Aug 17th, 2008

    I find two things unbelievable: (1) that Linden Lab has condoned this and (2) that you didn’t use the term “SLAPNUTS” in the story, Pix!

  4. Chav Paderborn

    Aug 17th, 2008

    Indeed the Lindens didn’t want to get rid of gambling, they were forced to by RL laws. So the zorkmid is probably here to stay unless/until someone in the real world declares it illegal.

  5. Sigmund Leominster

    Aug 17th, 2008

    Bah humbug! Gambling is like sex and alcohol – those who don’t like it want to ban it, and those who want it will get it. This bogus “conversion” is no different from buying chips in a casino, and like anything, a market for Zorkmids will appear. The “value” of any exchange item is as valid as people perceive it to be. If Johnny the Fish is willing to give me some of his latest range of clothing items in exchange for some Zorkmids, I say hand over the Z’s! it really doesn’t matter what the exchange medium is (dead voles, shoes, Cheerios, cats called Bob) as long as the exchangers agree on the underlying value.

    To my way of thinking, the problem with gambling, prostitution, and booze is how best to tax them. If Linden Lab(TM) would be prepared to take a cut of gambling profits, I say do it. If yah can’t ban it, tax it.

    Lest anyone think I am itching for a Second Life Vegas, my personal view is that gambling is for suckers and is, in effect, already a tax on the stupid. And of course, the difference between playing craps and investing in companies on the stock exchange is the quality of the suits worn by the gamblers.

  6. Cai Pirinha

    Aug 18th, 2008

    Sure this is perfectly legal. That’s why you see places with the exact same system all over the US in RL. Oh, wait …

  7. Penis Venkman

    Aug 18th, 2008

    LL made clear in the beginning of the ban this was NOT allowed.

    fucking newbs.

  8. dongs

    Aug 18th, 2008

    Thank you for admitting that furfags =/= people in your story.

  9. General Drama

    Aug 18th, 2008

    Midas Skytower eh? Sounds to me like Midas Commons has a new alt…

  10. IntLibber Brautigan

    Aug 18th, 2008

    I predicted last year that gambling would be back in SL before the end of 2008, because contrary to what Chav says, the FBI never told LL anything of the kind.

    It was all a big experiment for some people to study how prohibiting a major industry not only destroys that industry, but its ripples expand outward into the rest of the economy: into banking, real estate, building, software, etc…

    The experiment is over, gambling is back.

  11. Artemis Fate

    Aug 18th, 2008

    I think this is somewhere in the top 3 dumbest SL business scams I’ve heard, up there with SL Credit cards, and SL banks.

    But either way, I’m sure there’ll be the ever present flow of half-wits who think that they might be the one in a billion person to hit jackpot on machines that are unregulated by a commission to promote half-way fair odds. Really, any gambling machine could never pay out any money besides a small pittance to keep you dumping money in, there’s no 3rd party to check the scripts, so you really don’t know, more realistically, the odds are probably stupidly favored to the house, and an owner (as we’ve seen in stories before) can pretty much say “fuck you I’m not paying”. ESPECIALLY if you’re going with this whole “it’s fake money entirely! It doesn’t even turn into OTHER fake money! Wink wink” thing.

    If they can justify shutting down SL Gambling even though it was operated entirely in fake currency, then I’m sure they can justify shutting down this. The end result is the same: idiots being parted with their money by greedy assholes.

  12. mootykips

    Aug 18th, 2008

    that’s not a furry. that’s just Fine Too ™

  13. Razrcut Brooks

    Aug 18th, 2008

    That is a pretty Serious Cat. Blocky too.

  14. anon

    Aug 18th, 2008

    “Experiment is over, gambling is back.”

    Good one, Int – considering most of your money comes from questionable sources, it makes sense that you’d say that.

    Taking Woodbury University’s money with no intention of actually supplying them with a sim, for example. Isn’t that fraud?

  15. Ari

    Aug 18th, 2008

    “you have agreed, and we’ll tell you what you agreed to in a minute”

    This is a classic example of piss-poor reporting and sensationalism at it’s finest. See the triplet yellow arrows on the lower right of the blue menu, dope? Click that and you can receive the notecard BEFORE you agree to the terms. It’s an SL bug.

    But then again, you must be either totally inexperienced n00b or just stupid.
    Which is it?

  16. zamboni driver

    Aug 18th, 2008

    “Just over a year ago, Linden Lab banned gambling in Second Life, a change that sent the in-world economy into a tailspin”

    Do you just make this shit up as you go along, Pixeleen?

    You’re sounding more and more like Prok all the time. Some stupid, scamming, fictitious bank that put all it’s eggs in one basket (ala GOM) going down != the entire SL economy.

    As for this scheme, I agree with Alyx above. It won’t last.

    And the office hours you went to – did you ever think that perhaps they may not have been familiar with what you were talking about and decided that it would be best not to comment n it because of that? Or that they may have been aware and already were dealing with it behind the scenes and didn’t want to draw attention to it by telling some dumb ass yellow journalist from a crybaby blog masquerading as a newspaper?

    I can think of several more reasons why they would choose not to speak to you about it, Pixeleen. You’re a mini-Prok when it comes to every little thing LL does. Perhaps it’s that they just see you for the muckraking asshole you really are?

    You’re not nearly as important or influential as you seem to think you are.

  17. IntLibber Brautigan

    Aug 18th, 2008

    a) The sims are delivered, we are waiting on paperwork from WU before LL will allow a renaming of the second one.
    b) I have never invested in casinos in my SL career, or in escort businesses.

    So your aspersions to the contrary on both points are slanderous libel, which explains why you posted anonymously, Mald.

  18. Razrcut Brooks

    Aug 18th, 2008

    Checked out the place today. Its not bad, won a few lindens too. Was very desolate. The crowds were next door at the owner’s neighboring sim playing Zyngo……..

  19. mootykips

    Aug 18th, 2008

    Aspersions? more like Aspergin, amirite Int?

    >slanderous libel, which explains why you posted anonymously, Mald.

    I’d like to see you file a civil suit against Mald, actually. Not only would both of you have to pay a ton of attorney’s fees, I’m pretty sure getting flamed on the internet doesn’t fit either of the mutually exclusive definitions of “libel” or “slander”.

    For someone who had delusions of government service, I would assume you would know that, but libertarians tend to be on the less-informed side. Perhaps if Ron Paul bricked you with some purestrain gold or the invisible hand of the free market punched you in the gut you might suffer a political epiphany.

    Nevertheless, a 500lb quasi-neckbeard and Maldavius (probably with some gay wolf T-shirt) in the same courtroom would create probably the best Judge Judy episode in history. Shine on, you crazy, crazy star.

    Also, if anon is indeed Mald, you’re a jerk and I hate you for taking my usual commenting nick.

  20. lolatmooty

    Aug 20th, 2008

    Mooty, don’t you have, like, Drivers Ed to study for or something? Maybe lose your Doogie Howser virginity? How is Spokane these days anyways?

  21. Charles Xavier

    Aug 20th, 2008

    ITT: lolatmooty is a severely butthurt mald.


  22. Archie Lukas

    Aug 21st, 2008

    In Europe we call these ‘tokens’

    and they have been around these nasty machines in public places for years.

    The best remedy for them is to fill the clot with superglue

  23. Azno Simons

    Aug 22nd, 2008

    It sounds like this Zorkmid is going to be ruled illegal in Second Life. I have been watching this with great interest as if it were legal our casino (real life) would be interested in forming it’s own zork-type currency for play within a Second Life virtual currency. While it is okay to play with zork currency in the games, the problem is the conversion back to Linden dollars which whether a game of skill is involved or not is simply the conversion of poker chips into Linden dollars, hence the same as if you were playing a game of poker with chips instead of dollars.

    I am really glad that we did not sink any money into this and strongly suggest that players make sure they do not have any Z$ balance and that zorkmid casino owners warn there players to withdrawal there Z$ balances so that this won’t be a case of another black eye when Linden Labs shuts down the zorkmid system that these players are left with no way to get there Z$ dollars back to Lindens.

    Well, if it closes I will owe $20 to my good friend and lawyer who told me that was never going to fly – bummer….

  24. Get Real

    Aug 22nd, 2008

    You know, real casinos only give you real life currency for most games if you then win at a laughably easy game of skill too. That game of skill is called “Walking to the Counter and Cashing Out Your Chips(TM)”. Some people might not be able to win if they cannot lift their foot high enough to get over the lip of the carpet without breaking their ankle, or if they are stupid enough to allow themselves to be tricked or robbed of their chips on the way.

  25. Azno Simons

    Aug 23rd, 2008

    We have received a noticed from the developer of Zorkmid products that they are ceasing operation as of 10pm SLT, August 24, 2008. Make sure you withdrawal your money prior to that time…. And as far as the monies paid to the developer for a product that they claimed to be legal within Second Life, it looks like you are high and dry with another Second Life “I am going to make money by telling you anything you want to hear” statement, typical Second Life…

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