Know When To Fold ‘Em

26 07 2007

Second Life bans gambling. They’d banned advertising for gambling before; now the actual machines for gambling are illegal to sell and own. Casinos are gonna get shut down for reals rather than just obfuscated.

Reason why is pretty straightforward — it’s illegal to run an online casino in the USA, and Linden isn’t interested in getting into a tangle over jurisdiction. (“Uh, but the guy who owns the casino is in Belgium–” “It’s running on your service, isn’t it? You’re aparty. Cope.”) This is an ongoing problem with the net… is a common carrier responsible for user content? Very few court cases have said otherwise, and if Linden’s gonna survive, they need to be proactive rather than sit on their thumbs, get sued, claim righteous innocence, and be mauled anyway. Not saying it’s right or wrong… it just is what it is.

Of course, there’s the usual level of venom and declarations that SL is now going to crash and die. That casino shutdowns will ruin everything and the world is doomed, etc. I say: If your world can’t survive without casinos, you don’t DESERVE a world. SL should live or die on user creativity and social community, not on being a digital moneymaking scheme. If the glue keeping it all from collapsing is poker and whores then that’s a sorry state of affairs.

Does this affect the arcade? Nope! Why? Same reason it’s OK in reality… you never “cash out.” You get TICKETS as rewards, and those tickets can then be exchanged for prizes, but you never really make money. At best you get an item as a gift in thanks for playing games. Plus, none of the arcade games are pure random luck, there’s a considerable amount of skill-play going on. Hell, maybe now I can file an Event for a tournament under “Gaming” and not be drowned out of search results by slot machines and slingo events.

So, strum und drang. Unless I spelled that wrong. In the end the world improves and life goes on and the complainers forget they’re angry. (Does anybody remember Copybot, and how that would ruin the world? How shops were closing down in protest? Yeah, that kinda went nowhere, too.) Our projects are insulated because we didn’t base our work in illegal content. …well, it’s NO LONGER based on illegal content, at any rate, and that feels damn good.

I’ll have some photos from SL up soon. I keep getting sidetracked by other things to do…

Edit: The Legality of Skeeball. I think I’m safe given all my games involve a great deal of skill based play, and they don’t even give monetary rewards, just ‘points’ you can cash in for goods rather than actual fake cash.

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18 responses

26 07 2007
kublaikhan

Know when to walk and when to run
Finally actually played ‘fist of discomfort’–that was kinda fun

26 07 2007
lirazel

“Sturm und drang” Like “storm”, only with a U.
Just sayin’. And yeah, you want to keep that Gordon Gecko element at bay a bit. Otherwise, SL would be just like FL.

26 07 2007
luinthoron

Almost. You forgot that nouns are always capitalized in German. :P

26 07 2007
bikerwalla

No casinos mean no casino advertisements cluttering up my SL experience.
And that’s good.

26 07 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Hells yeah. Less spinning billboards, less spammy classified ads, less clutter in the Gaming events, less skeezy MS-Paint designed slot machine housen, less of those useless “sploders”… less suck overall.
But believe me, the majority community is not gonna see it that way. Because most SLers have yet to figure out that if you want money, gambling and camping is about 11% as effective as buying four lousy US dollars worth of Lindenbucks. They’d rather spend hours and hours on unregulated games of chance rather than drop the cost of a HAPPY MEAL. Twits.

26 07 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Know when to walk and when to run
Huzzah. See if you can get in on a four player game; it’s like Smash Brothers at that point in terms of chaos, violence, and comraderie.
More games soon! We just need to finish art on Zombie Meltdown and code on Phrase Invaders.

26 07 2007
kublaikhan

Re: Know when to walk and when to run
I’ll have to see if I can do that.
Maybe I could design an Ojisan costume for SL…that’d be fun

26 07 2007
cmdr_zoom

It’s true. There’s a psychological barrier/hurdle in spending Real Money, if you’re just there as a tourist. (Not to mention that it requires a credit card, which is genuinely inconvenient or impossible for some people, and worrisome to others, considering who LL has been willing to pass information to before.)

26 07 2007
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

The credit card thing I’m willing to flippantly discount. We’re moving into an era where those without any access to online electronic cash are gonna be in deep trouble, whether it be for SL, Amazon, eBay, or whatever. It’s even a problem in some brick and mortar joints. Credit cards or some equivalent are rapidly becoming a survival tool.
I’ve never understood the Evil of credit cards. As long as you never spend more than you actually have, you’ll never have interest to pay. It’s people who charge multi-thousand-dollar things they can’t actually afford who end up in debt hell. As for fraud, my card has a $50 liability; if someone steals the number and runs up eleventy jillion dollars somewhere, too bad, I never have to pay more than $50 in penalty. The company swallows the rest.
For the young’ns, I’m surprised no credit card company has made an “allowance card” of some sort — usable by the kid but only refillable by the adult, and once you empty it, it’s useless until the next refill (which could even be done by check!). Could even send the logs to the adult to make sure the kid’s not buying anything bad. That’d work well, but I suspect there’s a legal tangle of some sort.

26 07 2007
benabik

Most credit card companies make prepaid credit cards. They’re generally intended as gift cards, but you can find a variety of options. (Fees, privacy, recharging, etc.) Several of the ones I found online specifically mention parental control, allowances, and teenagers. :-)
Directory of prepaid credit cards
Blog about using them for privacy – also has decent description of gotchas like fees and credit reporting.
(Perhaps you didn’t need the links, but I like citing sources.)

26 07 2007
Anonymous

that’s mostly a built-in psychological flaw of all animals. I can’t remember which book I found this in, but I do remember a study that gave chimpanzees a machine with two buttons, one with a picture of one banana, and one with two. It didn’t matter which one they pushed, the machine would just give them 1 banana, and 50% of time, two. They invariably pushed the two banana button. Not just the first time, either, pretty much all the time. The conclusion drawn was that they’d rather expect more and be disappointed than have low expectations and sometimes get a little extra.
also, I think there may have been a reward system already in place that gave them tokens to operate the machine, to make it even more like gambling, but my memory could just be making that part up…

26 07 2007
delfina

I’m actually A-Ok with the Linden decision on this. Yay for less casinos, sploders and all that! :D

26 07 2007
shachihoko

SL’s ban on “gambling” reminds me of Japanese pachinko parlors, actually.
Japanese law explicitly prohibits gambling for money, but a number of pachinko parlors (maybe all of them) have a loophole where you redeem the balls you’ve collected for “worthless” prizes … and then somewhere nearby is a little hole in the wall (sometimes literally?) where you can exchange the “worthless” prizes for cash.
I will be interested to see if anyone tries pulling something like this set-up together in SL … and if so, whether it works or gets caught and shot down.

27 07 2007
jengagne

They could, but they still won’t be able to advertise as anything but an “Arcade”. Can’t use the word Pachinko, etc.
That’s my #1 concern actually, that real arcades will be buried in a bunch of “Escort Arcade” listings now.

27 07 2007
jengagne

Does this affect the arcade? Nope! Why? Same reason it’s OK in reality… you never “cash out.”
Actually, according to the rules they posted, you CAN cash out from a skill-based game and still be legal. It’s just the random number generators that cause probs. All your games are skill based so…
Which also means if any casinos survive, they’ll be turning into “cash payout arcades”. :/ But that inherently breaks the whole “I’m a gambler, how exciting!” syndrome. OTOH it could attract a different sort of “I can make sure I win this!” gambler. OTOOH, the latter would mean arcade-casinos can’t be sure they won’t be cleaned out by a few talented people. Yay. ;)
I suppose Lucky Chairs are OK since although there’s a random letter generator, they generally don’t give money, they give prizes.
As for Copybot protests… I still see some shops with the stupid “/off. Anti Copybot! Get yours today! Now with less Spam!” as it gleefully self-promotes ALOUD spammily over and over again. Note that it doesn’t even work anymore. 9_9 And the person could just, like, buy your item and leave the area to copy it. Duh. It’s a case where the annoyance factor to your customers outweighs the perceived gain, IMO. It’s not like it keeps you safe.
But unlike Copybot, in this case we WILL see businesses closing. We will also presumably see small businesses closing (or not opening) when the systems start reporting cash-outs to the IRS on eBay and SL — for some reason, certain people would rather make no money at all than have to report it as income. Maybe we’ll see more freebies?

27 07 2007
Anonymous

…for some reason, certain people would rather make no money at all than have to report it as income. Maybe we’ll see more freebies?
There is some logic behind this. In certain cases with the American tax system (Particularly at the low and high ends), moving a few dollars in income puts you up into the next tax bracket…which increases your tax rate substantially. Sometimes, if the increase is small enough, this means you end up owing more to Uncle Sam than you made on the side. In these cases, making the extra money is only worth it if you can somehow avoid the taxes on the income.

28 07 2007
keikotakamura

Hey! :3 I’ve read your comments here and there on the SL community thing, and not only do I pretty much agree to everything you write but I also enjoy the amount of snark you dish to those who need it. >:)
Also! I LOVE SCRIPTED ARCADE GAMES. There’s an arcade in Tu Amor that I haunt frequently and it has Fist of Discomfort. That was really just fantabulous.
Anyway yeah, I’m Takamura Keiko in-world. See you around, maybe?
/flirting

28 07 2007
jengagne

Right, of course. But I seriously doubt all these people going “ZOMG” are putting that much thought or calculation into their general frothiness at the concept of paying taxes.

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