If Gambling In Virtual Worlds Is Illegal, Does The Avatar Get Arrested?

from the the-mind-boggles dept

In the past year or so, establishing a presence in Second Life has become a popular way for companies to get some media attention and establish their Web 2.0 cred. The latest to enter the virtual world isn't a company, but the FBI, which, on the invitation of Linden Lab, is looking around to see if anything untoward is going on in there. Of particular interest to the FBI are the in-game casinos, where people gamble Linden Dollars that can be exchanged for real money. At the moment, this is something of a end run around the laws aimed at blocking online gambling. With so many arrests of online gambling executives, Linden Lab seems concerned about the legality of its own operations, and has smartly sought an opinion from the government on whether it's breaking any laws. Of course, this question just opens up a huge can of worms about the relationship between real world law and in-game play. Meanwhile, now that the government has entered the virtual world, it's comforting to know that Reuters has a full-time reporter there, just to keep it in check.

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  • identicon
    Jameth, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:19pm

    And the next big online battle begins....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rick, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:31pm

    I bet 100 Linden Dollars that any action by the FBI against virtual gambling damages Second Life beyond repair.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:33pm

    So what about when people roll for drops in WOW that can later be sold ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    steve, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:36pm

    crooks

    most of the gambling sites are crooks. you win they don't pay you tell linden labs they do nothing. i am glad the FBI is looking into this and i hope they shut down the gambling. if we cant play poker on line why should this be legal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sam, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:49pm

    heh

    Next thing you know we'll have FBI people coming into CS:S games and arresting people who bet t all. Oh wait the FBI will get owned in cs... ya nvm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zartan, 4 Apr 2007 @ 12:57pm

    The IRS will be the next one's in

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MikeT, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:07pm

    I wonder what would happen...

    If someone dressed up as a Minuteman in Second Life and shot the FBI agent's avatar dead. What crime could they actually charge him with, since that would be a griefer attack, not a deliberate attempt to shut down an investgation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Urza, 4 Apr 2007 @ 2:53pm

      Re: I wonder what would happen...

      That would be brilliant. Two problems though. First of all, the FBI agents are probably 'undercover'. Secondly, you can't really kill avatars in SL. I believe there are certain areas where you can, but still, wouldn't really do much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Black Ize (profile), 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:09pm

    Online gambling was stopped only because...

    the IRS couldn't tax it very well. Our government loves getting it's cut of any money making. If it can't tax it or get their cut when someone makes money then they will stop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:26pm

    Second Lifers could probably sue under the Americans With Disabilities Act because you would have to be retarded to care about some made-up online world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:33pm

    Should we start calling them the 'Freedom Burglarizing Institute' now?

    Still amazing how gambling's illegal unless you are a fat cat rich casino owner or a state lottery commission.

    Talk about double standards...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    theguy, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:43pm

    when whill

    jack bauer and chuck norris become stables in SL?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:49pm

    I don't gamble but I don't see why the goverment feels the need to stop it from happening. One person commented it is because it could not be taxed. I say good guess. We need to bring the man down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Poo

    Gambling in general is kinda stupid really.. I would much rather waste my time taking out a mech in BF2142. Its way cheaper and I get more entertainment out of it anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2007 @ 2:01pm

    lame, stupidity..

    wow, how fucking stupid are they
    'are we breaking the law'
    'OfCOURSE you are..'
    i hope second life dies over this and linden labs goes flat out of business

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jezsik, 4 Apr 2007 @ 2:21pm

    Sue under the Americans With Disabilities Act?

    Because you would have to be retarded to care about some made-up online world.

    Now THAT's funny!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 4 Apr 2007 @ 2:56pm

    Gambling's not the ONLY issue....

    It's amazing that Linden Lab invited the FBI to the world so they could give their "opinion" on whether gambling inside SL is legal or illegal.

    What's to become of the rest of the "unscrupulous" businesses inside the Second Life world?

    Businesses such as those that RENT DVD MOVIES, or sell whole songs, or clothing that clearly is marked with logo's of those companies that DO NOT sell merchandise inside the Second Life world.

    I actually raised my concern last year about MOVIE RENTAL businesses, as they are renting DVD's, the same you would find at NETFLIX or BLOCKBUSTERS, yet you know they haven't signed any sort of licensing agreement with the industry giants. I was told, by the same "lawyer" mentioned aboved, that NO LAWS were being broken by these businesses, even though, if I were to go buy copies of movies, then opened a store and rented those copies that I purchased, then I would be held liable for breaking copyrights.

    If I were Philip Rosedale, I wouldn't put much faith in what his "lawyer" has told him, because what he told me was FAR from what the law says, and in doing so, when the powers that be come calling about these "Movie Rental Businesses", Linden Lab will not be able to say, "We had no idea this was happening", since I raised the concern with them and still have those emails.

    I think Second Life needs to take a long hard look at what they allow as businesses inside the world of Second Life, to sit by and act as if they don't know what's going on, is only going to get them in more trouble in the long run, not to mention make the look damn foolish when they say just that as an excuse!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Silicon Shaman, 4 Apr 2007 @ 3:52pm

      Re: Gambling's not the ONLY issue....

      Never mind copyright laws... you do know there are virtual brothels operating in SL?

      Can't see that the FBI is going to like them either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Silicon Shaman, 4 Apr 2007 @ 3:49pm

    just a thought...

    So, if we apply real world laws to the virtual world, and if virtual gambling is illegal, then what about virtual murder?

    Other online Games had better watch out, they could be next.

    Personally, I say if linden labs, & the other game companies are smart, they'll relocate their servers to some friendly country and tell the luddites in congress to get lost.

    Lets keep the virtual frontier free!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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