that the FBI has virtually scoped out Second Life's casinos, at the invitation of Linden Lab. According to the article:
Second Life is a popular online virtual world with millions of registered users and its own economy and currency, known as the Linden dollar, which can be exchanged for U.S. dollars.
Yoon said the company was seeking guidance on virtual gaming activity in Second Life but had not yet received clear rules from U.S. authorities.
The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Northern California declined comment.
Hundreds of casinos offering poker, slot machines and blackjack can easily be found in Second Life. While it is difficult to estimate the total size of the gambling economy in Second Life, the three largest poker casinos are earning profits of a modest $1,500 each per month, according to casino owners and people familiar with the industry.
The surge in Second Life gambling coincides with a crackdown in the real world by the U.S. government, which has arrested executives from offshore gambling Web sites.
Most lawyers agree that placing bets with Linden dollars likely violates U.S. anti-gambling statutes, which cover circumstances in which "something of value" is wagered. But the degree of Linden Lab's responsibility, and the likelihood of a any crackdown, is uncertain.
"It's not always clear to us whether a 3-D simulation of a casino is the same thing as a casino, legally speaking, and it's not clear to the law enforcement authorities we have asked," [Linden general counsel] Yoon said.
Labels: Gambling, Law, News