Friday, July 11, 2014

Eye on the Blog: "Skill Gaming in Second Life"

In Second Life's earlier days, games of chance were completely legal. One could go around and find games of blackjack, poker, roulette, slot machines, and more in which you could put down and risk as many Lindens as you wanted. Then several years ago it was banned by Linden Lab, citing laws against Internet gambling. As time went on, games which required Lindens to play and offering a chance at a prize began to slowly return, such as "Zyngo." The makers explained these games did not depend completely on chance, but required some choices and skill by the players.

On Wednesday July 9, Linden Lab announced on their blog that they were updating their official policies.

Gambling is strictly prohibited in Second Life and operating, or participating in, a game of chance that provides a Linden Dollar payout is a violation of ourTerms of Service. However, games of skill are legally permitted in many jurisdictions, and we’ve seen that many Second Life users are interested in playing such games for Linden Dollars. Therefore we are updating our gaming policy in Second Life.

There was then a link that took readers to a page on the Second Life wiki which had the details. Among them:

"Skill Games" will only be allowed in specially designated areas. Those whom wish their virtual land to be able to house the games will need to apply to Linden Lab, and pay extra fees, which the Lab says are to offset "additional administrative and compliance-related costs."

Only those approved by Linden Lab to operate "skill games" will be allowed to operate them.

Makers of "skill games" can only sell or otherwise distribute those approved by Linden Lab, and will need to pay "a one-time nonrefundable application fee as well as a quarterly license fee."

Only those living in states where gambling is legal and are old enough are allowed to play the games. Those whom are not either one who try will be considered by the Lab as breaking their terms of service.

The rules are stated as going in effect on August 1, 2014.

Games such as Japanese pachinko machines, which offer not Lindens but tokens which can be exchanged for prizes, card games that offer no Linden prizes but are simply for play, and the "sploders" that are a frequent sight in Second Life clubs are presumably outside these restrictions.

For the blog post in full:

Linden Lab's Skill Gaming Frequently Asked Questions page:

Skill Gaming Thread in the official forums:

SL Universe Skill Gaming thread:

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