Friday, May 19, 2023

Linden Lab's Social Casino (And Controversy About)

 For those looking for a little casino action, Linden Lab now has a "Social Casino" where one can play slots and blackjack. However, the move is not going well with some residents.

The news was announced in both the "Shop and Hop" group by Strawberry Linden, and on the Second Life Twitter by the Lab.

We opened up a new Social Casino in Second Life where you can get free chips to play if you login daily. Check it out, it's called Helios Casino & Lounge, landmark is attached:

Please feel free to share any feedback with me directly and let me know how you like it!
Heading to Helios Casino (78/121/23), I was greeted with a HUD coming up, giving some basic directions, and announcing I was being given 500 free chips, plus would be given an additional 120 chips for every day I came back. Examining the place, it was made by various moles, with a "Social Casino Linden" listed as the owner.

Taking a look around, there were just two types of games. There are the slot machines, which pretty much rely on "dumb luck." And then there are the blackjack tables, in which a skilled player can win more often. There are variations in the slot games. And the blackjack tables are a bit different, with some offering different stakes and faster/slower paced games, than others. 
If you tun out of tokens and don't want to wait until the next day to get more, you can buy some from an "ATM" by the Lab. These tokens cannot be exchanged back into Linden dollars, and cannot be given/traded to other players.
While worth visiting, the place lacked the variety of games of (legal) casinos I've see in the past, such as 777 Studios. But it did seem cleaner and lacking the seedy air of a few such places. 

This might have been the end of the story, but as some might imagine, especially considering the history of gambling in Second Life, the news of a Linden Lab casino has not gone well with everyone. One person started a thread on the forums, asking why the Lab had banned gachas a few years ago if they were too close to gambling and was now opening an actual gambling casino, "Are you drunk, LL?". There would also be a second forum thread "Is Gambling Back?" The Twitter post was full of comments, and a picture from Sheree Honeyflower of a few people holding signs with a gambling problem helpline phone number, "If you're going to provide gambling, you may as well permit gacha.
The comments have been mostly negative, filled with charges of hypocrisy, and calls for the Lab to install some safety measures, or do away with the casino entirely. One commented, "... the decision to actively promote this one is rather, Unclever.  And highly unethical... it's only to prey on the ones having problems with addiction because no sane person drops 5k plus on something that is set to lose anyways."
What lies ahead can only be speculated on. Linden Lab may put a cap on the number of tokens that can be bought, do away with the option of buying them, or perhaps do nothing and hope that the issue is forgotten. What is clear is that if they expected little to no criticism, they were mistaken. For now, the Social Casino remains at the Helios Casino sim.

Bixyl Shuftan

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