|The American founders of the popular Second Life virtual community, Linden Labs, has announced that it is to immediately stop allowing online gambling and will not accept responsibility for any monetary losses incurred as a result.|
Second Life is an Internet-based virtual world that uses a downloadable client program to enable its users, called ‘residents’, to interact with each other through motional avatars. These ‘residents’ can explore, meet other ‘residents’, socialise, participate in individual and group activities and create and trade items such as virtual properties and services.
'Because there are a variety of conflicting gambling regulations around the world, we have chosen to restrict gambling in Second Life,' said a press statement from Linden Labs.
'Because this is an evolving area of law, we may continue to adjust and clarify this policy as we receive feedback from the community and from legal authorities or as new regulations, industry practices and technology solutions come into effect.”
In April, Second Life invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to review its policy on online gambling and offer guidance. It would appear that feedback from the Government agency was negative as Linden's new Terms of Service also state that the company will comply with all subpoenas from US law enforcement agencies demanding information.
'Linden Lab will actively enforce this policy,” said Linden’s press statement.
“If we discover gambling activities that violate the policy, we will remove all related objects from the inworld environment, may suspend or terminate the accounts of residents involved without refund or payment and may report any relevant details, including user information, to authorities and financial institutions.'
While Linden's rules have always prohibited ‘illegal’ activity, this latest move will disappoint Second Life gamblers who wager with Linden Dollars. It will also curtail revenue earned by Linden from those who own casino-style islands in the game and contribute to Linden through currency fees and land rental.