Second Life Targeted for Shutdown as a “Game of Skill”?

by Alphaville Herald on 16/09/08 at 10:23 am

by Pixeleen Mistral, National Affairs desk

The US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee hearings on H.R. 6870 today have some residents of Second Life concerned that the metaverse could become collateral damage in the war on online gambling, with suggestions that “games of skill” could be targets for regulation – most notably at the Net Freedom! Forever! – a web site paints a frightening picture of a regulation-induced Second Life shutdown.

H.R. 6870 – the “Payments System Protection Act of 2008” – is intended to clarify the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – a law which requires financial institutions to block payments to Internet gambling interests. The UIGEA did not clearly define exactly what constitutes online gambling, leaving the door open for regulators to define certain activities as gambling, and require the financial services industry to block payments to these services. Evidently the financial services sector has plenty of free time to act as an anti-gambling enforcement agency, having recently mastered the valuation of mortgage-backed derivatives – a game of skill best exemplified by Lehman Brothers.

Both pro and anti gambling interests are lining up supporters to influence the wording of the legislation – and what appear to be faith-based initiatives are warning against “predatory gambling” targeting teenagers and furries. At the same time, gaming interests are hoping to limit the government’s reach. Will regulators turn their attention to speculating in the US stock market next? This is another activity that appears to resemble online predatory gambling.

18 Responses to “Second Life Targeted for Shutdown as a “Game of Skill”?”

  1. BJ Tabor

    Sep 16th, 2008

    If we ban gambling in this country they are going to have to shut down Wallstreet.

  2. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Sep 16th, 2008

    If every gambling and sex location in SL were to suddenly vanish from the grid, I would like the place a whole lot more.

    All ten sims of it.

  3. pixeleen is a dumbass

    Sep 16th, 2008

    do you dumbasses really think their gonna shut down gambling in the USA? think again…do you think their gonna shut down every game that has to do with online and rl money?think again…do i think pixeleen needs help and needs to be fired from the SLH?very much so..dont like what i said? stfu and sue me then free speech motherfuckers

  4. GreenLantern Excelsior

    Sep 16th, 2008

    The law is almost unenforceable so I doubt we have anything to worry about.

    “If we ban gambling in this country they are going to have to shut down Wallstreet.”

    Amen, brother. That’s not a bad idea anyway, even without the gambling.

  5. Aled Numanox

    Sep 16th, 2008

    Gambling… is illegal in Second Life. Am I right?

  6. Arwyn Quandry

    Sep 16th, 2008

    H.R. 6870 passed. No need to worry about it anymore.

  7. Melissa Yeuxdoux

    Sep 16th, 2008

    Reading this, I have to wonder whether the SLH has decided to cut costs by laying off all the writers and using a travesty generator to produce articles.

  8. three cheers for Barney Frank

    Sep 16th, 2008

    Today, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services will mark up a bill introduced last week by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) aimed at suspending regulations under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act 2006 (UIGEA). The bill, H.R. 6870, known as the ‘Payment Systems Protections Act of 2008′, would prohibit the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve from proposing, prescribing or implementing any regulations under UIGEA apart from those relating to sports betting, until the meaning of key definitions such as ‘unlawful internet gambling’ had been clarified, and an economic impact study conducted on the costs associated with compliance. This would be good news for online poker players in the USA, as it would clarify that online poker is legal.—31115.htm




  9. dominick

    Sep 16th, 2008


    Not anymore!

    Right, Lindens? ONLINE GAMBLING IS LEGAL IN THE US! (except sports betting)

    So when do the game lot owners get to open poker tables and slot machines again? Hrm?

  10. IntLibber Brautigan

    Sep 16th, 2008

    Hold up folks, this is merely a House Resolution. You need an identical or similar bill to be passed by the Senate (and then any discrepancies resolved in committee), then get it signed by the president. So online gambling isn’t legalized YET, but it is making headway. Now that it’s passed the House, everybody who wants this bill to pass the Senate should send a message to their senators, as well as to Pres. Bush. You can do so via this link:

  11. Neo Citizen

    Sep 17th, 2008

    I find myself in the remarkable and creepy position of agreeing with IntLibber here. Government regulation of the Internet is a combination of dangerous and bumble-fuck stupid. Given that the Internet doesn’t have any more rigidly defined boundaries than the atmosphere does, attempts to regulate monetary transactions using the fact that they’re taking place over the Internet as a basic tenet is an enormous waste of everyone’s time, money and attention.

  12. Neo Citizen

    Sep 17th, 2008

    That said, gambling is still illegal in most places, and the interpretation of “illegal gambling” according to the original law uses the laws intended to apply to brick and mortar establishments as to whether or not gambling at any particular site is illegal. So for the most part, this bill would really do nothing to assuage that. If gambling is illegal in Ohio, then it’s illegal in Ohio whether you use the Internet for it or not. This works because it’s based on a physical plot of dirt with physical, definable boundaries, within the borders of a particular region under the influence of a particular government. As soon as Congress finally figures out that the Internet is not an unseen country over which they have final jurisdiction, everything will improve.

  13. Anonymous

    Sep 17th, 2008

    SL getting shut down?

    this is bad, how?

  14. Sigmund Leominster

    Sep 17th, 2008

    I may have said this before – and I write so much that my aging brain has a hard time logging such activity – but there are three things that we in the US have always had a hard time with: Sex, booze, and gambling. Since the cutting of King George’s umbilical cord, various special interest groups have tried their damndest to control any activity involving these three behaviors – with varying degrees of success.

    If someone wants to spend their money on shooting craps, go for it: If someone wants to enter into a private transaction for sex with a prostitute, hand over the cash: If someone wants to go out at the weekend and drink Budweiser with Jagerbomb chasers, have at it. Oh wait, I already DO that one!

    My mom lives over 4000 miles away and I don’t recall her asking the US government to act in loco parentis and decide what I can and cannot spend my money on. Uncle Sam gets his pound of flesh from me so he can damn well leave the rest of it alone so I can do what I want with what’s left.

    And if I want to drink whiskey at the poker table with the whore I’m paying for the night, that’s my business. Sheesh.

  15. Nikola Shirakawa

    Sep 17th, 2008

    Why do people think they can block anything on the internet? A bit of proxification and a bounce off of Sweden and even the most stringent of blocks is wiped out.

  16. Sadako Shikami

    Sep 18th, 2008

    well, SL could be called a “game of skill” but nearly all of SL is built by people creating objects and skinning those objects … that’s a skill, and a talent in some cases, but it’s in no way related to gambling. gambling games of skill are still fixed to benefit the owners of the machine, not the players. oh wait, maybe SL *is* a game of skill then? *winks*

  17. LindenLover

    Sep 18th, 2008

    If the U.S. Congress continues to pander to the interests of land based casino lobbyists and attack internet gambling, then Second Life will just move outside of the United States.

  18. Romanza Pomilio

    Apr 29th, 2010

    This is just another load of crap put in place by people who have no idea what they are talking about.
    If our representatives have nothing better to do that mess with 2nd life we’re all in a deep pile of doo doo.
    Evidently, no one has told them SL is not a game of skill or a gambling site!!
    Besides, the kind of money SL/LL brings in tax revenues to the state, federal and foreign governments is beyond our imaginations. SL/LL is big business in the U.S. and before it gets shut down so will wall street and some mortgage companies in this country. lol

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