Lab delay introduction of new Skill Gaming Policy

secondlifeOn Wednesday July 9th, Linden Lab announced forthcoming changes to their Skill Gaming policy, which were due  to come into force as from Friday August 1st, 2014. They would bring with them stricter control enforced over the operation of games of skill in Second Life, and see the introduction of a new region type  – The Skill Gaming Region – which will only be accessible to those Second Life users who are of sufficient age and are located in a jurisdiction that Linden Lab permits for this kind of online gaming activity.

However, on Tuesday July 29th, 2014, the Lab issued a blog post stating that the new Skill Gaming policy will not now take effect until Monday September 1st, 2014, pointing to the number of applications received as being the reason for the delay.

The update on the introduction of the revisions to Skill Gaming in Second Life reads in full:

As we recently blogged, we have a new policy for Skill Gaming in Second Life. In short, skill games that offer Linden Dollar payouts will be allowed in Second Life, but each game, its creator, its operator, and the region on which it’s operated must be approved by Linden Lab.

Today, we are changing the date that the changes described in our previous blog post go into effect. Instead of starting on August 1, the updated Skill Gaming Policy will go into effect on September 1, 2014. The original blog post and the FAQs will also be updated to reflect this new deadline.

Since our original announcement, we’ve received many applications from Second Life users who want to become approved skill game creators and operators. By moving the date back, we’ll be able to process a larger number of applications and also offer creators more time to make necessary changes to their games.

If you would like to apply to become an approved skill games creator and/or operator, you can do so through Echosign.

Infrastructure support for the new Skill Gaming regions has already been deployed to the main grid as a part of the server deployments of weeks 28 and 29.

11 thoughts on “Lab delay introduction of new Skill Gaming Policy

  1. There are some odd phrases in the FAQ on skill gaming, but I could easily be misled because I am English, not American.

    For instance: “is legally authorized by applicable United States and international law.” That suggests to me that somewhere there is some official who is issuing an authorization, and without that for the game, you are toast. Which feels rather ridiculous.

    And I am afraid that I cannot read the section on region pricing as saying that $345 includes the existing Tier for a private region. Though that could just be somebody ignorant of the SL jargon on land fees.

    And then they require you to provide a “reasoned legal opinion”,one for the game creator, and a second, apparently with the same detailed knowledge of the games required, for the region operator. And a lawyer who can be credible on both computer programs and gambling law isn’t going to be cheap. Plus, how can the sim operator get an opinion on the game without having source-code access?

    We’re talking about close to L$ 90,000 per month just for the extra fees. God only knows what the lawyers bills will be. I hope I have misunderstood the Linden Lab billing, though there additional one-time fees, left unspecified in the FAQ, for processing the applications.

    This may not be anything that Linden Labs have any control over. They may have been raided by the cops (or whoever enforces these laws). But the FAQ ends up looking like an attempt to price Skill Gaming out of the market..

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    1. I agree with your final point Wolf. This has looked to me from the beginning like LL setting the economic and legal bars so high for any games with a payout that they are, for all intents and purposes, banned. The only reason I can postulate for going about it this way is that for some legal reason this is more effective than trying to define an outright ban.

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    2. “But the FAQ ends up looking like an attempt to price Skill Gaming out of the market.. ”

      Or a means to try to entice “professional” gaming operations into their platforms … ? Which is admittedly a very long punt.

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      1. We could expect such an operation to be able to cope with the admin. With gaming machines being computers, they would likely know “credible” lawyers. But how much money would be having to go through a virtual casino to make it worth doing? And this cannot be actual gambling. For there to be an outside business moving into SL, there would need to be a lot of people either already here, or willing to open accounts. It’s not just tier, there would be the cost of the games, and the in-world staff needed. LL have a hands-off approach to new residents. A casino wants them to stay. OK, this isn’t a Casino, but people will argue whether Poker is a game of chance or of skill.

        It’s enough to say that there are significant costs to running Skill Gaming in Second Life, not just the new fees, and the margins might be rather small. The monthly fee to LL might only be a small part of the costs. We could be talking about a turnover of a million US dollars a month needed for just one sim, though that is rather a guess.

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        1. Hence why I said it’s a punt. But testing the waters for thoughts in a future direction might not be out-of-place, particularly if there is someone already expressing an interest. That said, Occam’s Razor, as always, really applies to the reasoning why on fees, etc.

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  2. They still don’t appear to be listing the quarterly fee, which is waived through to the end of the year but surely people should have some indication of the costs.

    I also just noticed the US$100 conversion cost per region, I missed that first time around.

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  3. Ok, LL wants to essentially become a governement entity from the looks of things, relating to the Virtual Worlds. Here is the thing. In the United States, the IRS has ruled that Virtual Currency is Property, NOT Currency, therefore, Federally, L$ is not a recognized currency, therefore, they can not say it is a Casino. Secondly, there needs to be a recourse besides the abuse reporting system (which is a joke), to hold residents accountable. If LL wants to get into being a government, then they need to allow elections, courts and a constitution, that is separate than the TOS, and voted on by residents. With L$ being property, then, this policy actually holds no legal binding, in the Real World, (Yes this is coming from my Prepaid Attorney, who I have consulted). The only real thing that LL can do, is terminate your account, and this gives them a reason to do so, legally, as having the games, would be a violation of the contract.
    Thirdly, this is another attempt to grab more RL money from people. I think it is time for a Mass Exodus, as LL is getting to be like the United States Government, not listening to it’s users, and taxing the hell out of us.

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    1. Hey maybe your Prepaid Attorney can just tell Linden Labs the errors of their ways and then we can get real gambling back in SL. Clearly the Lab and the rest of us that have re-hashed this issue to death are blind to how obviously simple the answer is.

      If not then I’m sure you can point us all to what virtual world will free us from the tyranny of the lab and let us all have Casinos free of fees and legal consequences.

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      1. Gladly Secondroblem. It’s Called InWorldz, and I am also in there. All of the same features as SL, without the Lab’s oversight. They are not affiliated with Linden Labs at all, as a matter of fact. Even if my attorney did tell them, the way the lab looks at it, is that this is a money making policy. First off, you have an extra $46 USD per month for the SIM that is Gaming allowed, and then you have the Quarterly Fee for approved operators, which is probably going to be about $200 USD a quarter, so lets just figure an other $338 ($46 per month times 3 months, equals $138USD then the (No announcement, just making an inference from all of the other fees charged by LL) $200 per quarter to operate the games.) Yep, LL is seeing pure $$$, with minimal expense.
        Thank you. Have a nice day.

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