Second Life High Roller Gam(bl)ing – part 1

by Alphaville Herald on 13/09/09 at 10:27 pm

by Father Jones, investigative reporter

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Blueline Gaming's weekly "contest": L$500000 ($1747 USD) paid to top 5 scorers

Wagers and online games-of-chance were officially banned from Second Life in 2007, but games-of-skill are still allowed, creating a phenomenon we call gam(bl)ing. Unregulated, risky, and carefully packaged to resemble casino gambling while conforming to Linden Lab's guidelines, high stakes gam(bl)ing allows players to wager invest $352 USD on a 7% chance of winning $7000 USD. To get a sense of the scope of Second Life gam(bl)ing, this series begins with a look at today's high roller casinos and the business models in play.

Weekly big dollar contests: To attract high rollers, some new casino’s give out huge money prizes along with the prize gamblers can win on the ‘Instant payout’ Zyngo machines. Casinos mostly do so by organizing contests where the 5 or 10 players with highest score in a week get a bonus. 

Very high pay-in / very big payout: The multipliers on the Zyngo games create potentially huge money prizes when the pay-in is high. Typical real life casinos have slot machines with a maximum bet per spin of around $35 USD. In Second Life,  Zyngo game pay-in goes up to L$100000 ($352 USD) to start a single game session that takes about 4 minutes to complete. Is anyone really playing at this level other than the casino owner's alt accounts?

Of course, the prizes to be won are unbelievable as well.

With a multiplier of 20X, gamblers can win L$ 2 million ($7000 USD) with a pay-in of  L$100000 ($352 USD). To win, you need to beat the score of 68888 points, which gives the gambler player a 7% chance to win the game he/she started. But this is not gambling – this is a game of skill.

While the odds and payouts may beggar belief, high stakes casinos have become common – here is a sampling:

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A weekly contest at ‘Maxim Highroller Zyngo’: L$150000  ($523 USD)

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A weekly contest at ‘Skyy Zyngo’: L$100000 ($352 USD) + L$10000  ($35 USD)

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A weekly contest at ‘Zyngo Neptune’: L$300000 ($1048 USD) + L$100000  ($352 USD) 
+ daily L$10000 ($35 USD)

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A weekly contest at ‘TERA Zyngo’: L$350000  ($1222 USD) + L$50000  ($176 USD) 

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High roller games at ‘Neptune Zyngo’: L$2 million to be won ($7000 USD),
 L$99999 pay-In ($352 USD), score to beat: 68888 points (7% chance of winning)

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High roller games at ‘Blueline Gaming’: L$750000 to be won ($2622 USD),
 L$49999 pay-In ($176 USD), score to beat: 65777 points (7.5% chance of winning)

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High roller games at ‘Gamma Games’: L$750000 to be won ($2622 USD),
 L$50000 pay-In ($176 USD), score to beat: 64888 points (7.8% chance of winning)

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High roller games at ‘Golden Palace Games’ 

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High roller games at ‘Imperial Palace Games’ 

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High roller games at ‘Maxim Highroller Zyngo’ 

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High roller games at ‘Pay Less Zyngo’ 

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High roller games at ‘Skyy Zyngo’ 

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High roller games at ‘TERA Zyngo’

18 Responses to “Second Life High Roller Gam(bl)ing – part 1”

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    Sep 14th, 2009

    So, how many times did you play these machines while “investigating” this story?

  2. Urizenus Sklar

    Sep 14th, 2009

    >$352 USD on a 7% chance of winning $7000 USD

    If true the casino/game is losing and it is a rational bet for us to play. Just a little over a 5% chance and the bet would tip in the player’s favor.

  3. All Seeing Eye

    Sep 14th, 2009

    Someone needs to turn Linden Lab in for allowing casinos to operate. Unless, of course, they sell 49% of LL to Pan American, the (mafia) company behind many Indian Reservation casinos. Since that is doubtful then I would think Pan American might make a few phone calls if LL doesn’t shut down all those gaming operations regardless of who runs them. Maybe LL needs to watch that movie called Casino.

  4. Anya Ristow

    Sep 14th, 2009

    There is much less than 7% chance to win zyngo at 68888.

  5. Christopher Whippet

    Sep 14th, 2009

    >>$352 USD on a 7% chance of winning $7000 USD

    >If true the casino/game is losing and it is a rational bet for us to play. Just a little over a 5% chance and the bet would tip in the player’s favor.

    They probably mean you have a very small chance of winning those new games.
    I guess they want to make clear that this is called betting. Betting is gambling… And gambling in SL was banned in… 2007 ?
    And if those screenshots and amounts of money are true you hardly can call this innocent.

  6. Darien Caldwell

    Sep 14th, 2009

    If it’s a game of skill, wouldn’t the chance to win be directly tied to how skillful you are? A really good player should have a nearly 100% chance of winning. I don’t understand where this 7% comes from. Or are you saying skill has nothing to do with it?

  7. Fred Gloom

    Sep 14th, 2009

    I play Zyngo myself. I don’t think we have a 100% chance of winning at all. Most popular is the ‘Autoplay’ on Zyngo. Everything is going automatically: you pay, game starts and you don’t have anything else to do but wait until a blue or green joker shows up. But you are not in controle in which rounds or how many of these jokers are comming (and in what row they show up). You are also not in controle when and how many devils are comming. You can play a very good game scoring 60000 points and the devil can come in last rounds to half your score by 50% so you don’t win at all. You also see Zyngo’s with a higher score to beat when the pot is bigger. So the casino owners must have calculated the chance to win depending on how high the pot to win is. What freaked me out now is the incredible high pots this screenshots are showing. I did not know they existed. I only play Zyngo to win or lose about 50 lindens at a time lol

  8. Obvious Schism

    Sep 14th, 2009

    There were far too many pictures in this article. I felt that they detracted from the words.

  9. Johann Encke

    Sep 14th, 2009

    About two weeks ago, I did a survey of the 50 top Second Life Classifieds (ads). By “top”, I mean they paid the most for their ad (per week). 15 of the top 50 most expensive Classifieds were bought by Zyngo places. Each place was paying between $130 USD and $610 USD per week for their ad. Adding those up, I found that those 15 places were paying Linden Lab about $4950 USD per week for their classified ads. If that went on for a year (52 weeks), it would add up to $257,400 USD for Linden Lab.

    As Fred Gloom pointed out, one can ‘Autoplay’ Zyngo. No skill is required.

    I look forward to reading part 2.

  10. coco

    Sep 14th, 2009

    The only “skill” is LL ‘s for not yet getting busted.Those who still still sell and make money from these obvious gambling machines seem to show the con man’s level of skill as well.


  11. Swedish Chef

    Sep 14th, 2009

    If such a Zyngo place is able to pay 610$ USD a week for a simple advertising, how much would they earn? I mean they definitly want to make profit so they need to make at least 2440$ USD a month to advertise? Asume the place makes that double would be about 5000$ USD profit for one gambling place a month. Asume the place has a 10 % profit from all money comming in and after they pay out the winners, would be about 50000$ USD worth in linden dollars going through that place in one month. This is smelling bad Linden Lab!

  12. IntLibber Brautigan

    Sep 15th, 2009

    Actually, if a game on average pays out more than it takes in, it is not gambling, its investing. If someone has a zyngo game paying out slightly better than the risk, then the return on risk is over 1.00 and it becomes an investment grade speculation. I imagine that such an operation is really a rather intelligent way to get people camping in your casino without per se having camping chairs: the slightly positive payout average is equal to what one would normally pay campers.

    I had this same idea back before games of chance were banned, my one foray into gaming was to develop Beach Blanket Bingo which I used on my own beach club land, and I set it to pay out slightly better than the odds, so my cost to operate was the same as if I were running camping chairs, without actually having the additional lag load of having camping chairs scripted separately.

    With the banning of overt camper bots, I suspect that we will be seeing more and more locations implementing this sort of solution to maintain high traffic levels, with a zyngo room in the back room of one’s regular business.

  13. Mister Berboral

    Sep 15th, 2009

    @IntLibber: if what you assume was true, all those zyngorooms would be bankrupt by now. If I see that 2 million lindendollar zyngo on that screenshot I can not believe the owner risks that kind of money to give more than it takes. Even if the owner would give away 5 percent of that pot on that particular machine (and look he has lots of machines) that would be 100.000,0 lindendollar which you would call an investment on both sides? I don’t think I ever saw places giving out that kind of investmentmoney daily on campingchairs lolz. Your story could be true but only if we talk about freeplay zyngo or lowroller ones. This article is about highroller games dude. the big dollars.

  14. waltdisneys cryotank

    Sep 15th, 2009

    Every time you log into second life you gamble. Some douche-bag with a popgun could shoot you as soon as you ain’t looking.

  15. IntLibber Brautigan

    Sep 15th, 2009

    Mister Berboral,
    A camping chair pays out typically 2-3L$ per 10 minutes. To achieve a full 1440 traffic points each day per camp chair, that will cost you 432 L$ per day. With 40 camp chairs to achieve 55k traffic, this will cost you 17280 L$ per day. Thus you could pay out a prize of L$ 340,000 with a return on risk of 1.05 set in the scripts, and paying out a daily prize of L$340,000 each day will only cost you the parlor owner the 17k L$ you were already paying for 40 camp chairs, without blowing 40 camp chairs script lag.

  16. Gregory Granville

    Sep 16th, 2009

    I agree with Anya. To win a Zyngo at 68888 points only happens one in a hundred games or less thus 1% would be more appropriate. Maybe the investigator based that 7% on other calculations but experienced players will agree winning such high score is really tough. I must agree that you could call that a gamble. Furthermore I do not believe all owners of Zyngo-rooms have such a room to generate traffic. If generating traffic would be the goal there would be some other kind of business around or near it. But those really high roller places are mostly just full private sims without any other activity around. Others are floating high in the sky on seperated parcels in mainland. They look pretty much operating on their own those Zyngo-rooms without any other goal -> = my observation.

    >>There is much less than 7% chance to win zyngo at 68888.

    >>Posted by: Anya Ristow | September 14, 2009 at 08:57 AM

  17. Father Jones

    Nov 9th, 2010

    The crooks try to keep their gambling games active while having some ‘damage controle’ just in case a lawsuit occurs…

    We’re sending this message to you as we have identified the Second Life account associated with this email address as one which is either engaged in the development or operation of games which fall under our policy on wagering, which can be found here:
    This policy permits games of skill, and games like Zyngo and Deal have been determined to fit that definition. A recent review of the play of several games found that certain versions of these games have features which we have determined to be in violation of the policy as they have automated certain elements of play which need to be performed manually by the player in order for the game to fit the definition of a game of skill.
    After careful consideration, we have determined that we can not allow any game which permits the automation of play in such a manner as to enable the player to allow the game to perform certain skill based tasks in the course of play that they would otherwise need to do themselves, when: a) game play is enabled with the payment of L$, and b) when the L$ payment then makes the player eligible to receive L$ as a result. Examples of games and play which fit this definition are the “auto-play” features on games like Zyngo and Deal.
    Effective immediately, all games which meet this definition are required to either be free-play with no opportunity for L$ to be paid as a result of play, or for games which will continue to require payment of L$ to begin game play, the auto-play features described above must be disabled.
    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at this email address.
    Best regards,
    J Pierson
    Program Manager, Trust & Safety
    Linden Lab / Second Life
    IN SL: JP Linden “

  18. mr. insider

    Sep 15th, 2011

    this FATHER JONES guy is a fallen and jelousy casino-owner from secondlife.
    his sl name was bicky-burger.
    he was much too dumb to run an own fair gaming place.
    now he wanna spoil the fun only.

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