Since we originally announced the anti-gambling policy, we have received more questions about what it covers and how we plan to enforce it. Following is the updated FAQ, which attempts to clarify our original explanation of the policy and enforcement. We’ve added:
– more explanation about what we mean by ‘wagering’
– elaboration on what we mean by skill contests, and whether or not sweepstakes are affected
– detail about “consideration”, i.e. making or receiving a payment or thing of value in association with playing a game
– additional explanation regarding enforcement: if we discover a game or activity that we believe violates the policy we will return it to your inventory and issue a warning. If you persist in offering the game, your account will be suspended and may be terminated.
As we said initially, we can’t post a list of acceptable or unacceptable games, as it’s impossible to create an accurate and comprehensive list. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself if your game meets the criteria in the policy: Linden dollars are paid in, the outcome is random, Linden dollars or something else of value is paid out. Ultimately you’ll need to decide if you’re comfortable that your game or activity is legal within the policy.
Wagering Games FAQ
Does this policy mean that all simulated gambling in Second Life(R) is illegal? Have I broken the law by gambling in Second Life?
Our policy is not designed to provide you with legal advice regarding the legality of specific gambling activities in your jurisdiction. It is not a substitute for legal advice, either. Rather, in order to ensure that Residents comply with generally applicable laws, which do not permit wagering on games of chance or sports betting, and also in order to comply with the rules of credit card associations, Second Life’s policy is to prohibit in-world gambling activities.
It always has been a basic tenet of Second Life that all Residents are legally responsible for their own activities and for complying with the laws of the local jurisdiction in which they reside. If you are violating our policy, or if you are otherwise concerned that you may be engaging in illegal gambling, you should stop.
What does “wagering” mean according to this policy?
The term “wagering” applies to any covered game or activity (i.e. game of chance, sports betting) in which a user contributes Linden dollars (or real-world money or things of value), whether into a pot, at a table game, at a house game, for purchase of a card (such as Bingo), or in any way risks Linden dollars based on whether an event may or may not occur, such as whether a team will win a sporting event, or whether Barack Obama will win the Democratic primary.
Is this a blanket ban — i.e., is this simply a ban on simulated casinos or all types of gambling?
The ban applies to all games of chance, wagering, or sports betting, where Linden dollars or their equivalents are collected and paid out. The list of games in the policy are only examples. The policy applies to objects and games whether or not they are in a building that you may call an inworld “casino.”
Does the policy apply to all games based on real-life sports activities?
The policy prohibits Sports Books or Sports Betting, including the placement or acceptance of bets on actual sporting events (or other real-world events) against a book-maker or through a betting exchange. However, the policy does not prohibit “fantasy sports” leagues if the rules and operation of those games comply with all applicable laws.
Does this policy apply to “skill contests”?
This policy only applies to wagering games that involve an element of chance. This includes, for instance, any game involving random number generation, simulated dice, cards, poker, lotteries, bingo, or any other “chance” game. Games of pure intellectual or physical skill, such as puzzles or other skill contests, may not fall under this definition.
If your game or contest does not meet the above criteria, it is not restricted under this policy, but other applicable laws and local practice may apply, and you are expected to conduct your activities in Second Life in a legal way.
Please note that this policy does not give you guidance on what your legal obligations are — as noted above, that is your responsibility to determine.
Are legal promotional sweepstakes permitted?
If you are conducting a genuine promotional sweepstakes, that complies with all applicable laws, and can demonstrate that compliance, that activity will likely be permitted.
What about games in which no Linden dollars or other “consideration” is accepted?
If entry is truly “free” (as with a promotional sweepstakes), and the game’s operator requires no “consideration” or payment from other players or entrants, then that activity will likely be permitted, assuming compliance with all other applicable laws.
What about games in which no Linden dollars or other “consideration” is paid out?
If the “payout” involves objects that are more akin to novelty objects that cannot readily be converted into Lindens, real-world currency or value, then that activity will likely be permitted.
How will you enforce this measure? How can you detect these games?
Our staff will review, investigate and respond to appropriate notices. When we discover objects or games within Second Life that meet the policy’s definition, we will remove them from Second Life. We reserve the right to suspend or terminate your account, and repeat offenders will be suspended or terminated.
What will the consequences be for those who continue to play or operate games that fall under this policy?
Any user who violates the policy or our Terms of Service more than once will be suspended, and may be terminated. Linden Lab will also comply with validly issued subpoenas in connection with law enforcement investigations and legal actions.
I live somewhere where online gambling is not illegal. Does this policy apply to me?
It does. This policy applies to all users of Second Life. However, it isn’t intended to necessarily describe what is or isn’t legal for any particular resident or in any particular place. Rather, it describes what Linden Lab believes it must do in order to maintain an atmosphere in which all applicable laws are respected, as well as U.S. credit card association and other relevant rules and guidelines.
Will this take effect immediately? Will there be reimbursement involved for virtual casino owners?
* It will take effect immediately.
* Second Life Residents are responsible for their own behavior and compliance with the policy.
* There will be no reimbursement if Linden Lab removes objects or activities that violate this policy.
These FAQs are intended to be helpful to you. They supplement but do not alter or amend the policy itself or our Terms of Service. We reserve the right to revisit this policy and any other of our policies.