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No virtual gambling in a virtual world

Janet Babin Jul 27, 2007


Doug Krizner: A dose of reality’s been given to the online virtual world of Second Life. The sites creators, Linden Labs, have outlawed gambling. Janet Babin reports from the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: Second Life says it has more than eight million residents, and they engage in all kinds of commerce. The world has its own currency, called the Linden Dollar. And there used to be hundreds of casinos where you could lose or make those Linden Dollars, playing poker, slot machines or blackjack.

But not anymore — Second Life has made gambling and sports betting a violation of so-called “in-world” policy. Linden Labs was worried that virtual gambling on its site may run afoul of real-world laws.

Analyst Joe Laszlo with Jupiter Research says residents are fearful that this crackdown is just the first of many.

Joe Laszlo: Well if it’s gambling today, then virtual bars and strip clubs tomorrow and political rallies maybe next week. And I think it gravely impacts, kind of, how open Second Life has been and how much existing residents want to be there.

The three largest casinos reportedly make about $4,500 dollars each month. The FBI began investigating Second Life’s casinos in April.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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