Thursday, April 19, 2007

"virtual" online gambling safe... for now.

First, let me make it clear that I never intended to be a Second Life blogger. I've never even played Second Life. But when I look at my tags and see just how many Second Life posts I've made, well, I've got to face facts. I've become a SL blogger. SL is just so perfectly hedonistic, such a funny little experiment of human interaction and behavior in a technical environment, how could I resist? Here you have a place where people can be the person they want to be, not the person they are. They can do the socially unacceptable - they could run down the virtual street virtually naked and still go to work the next day. So how DO people behave when you minimize or eliminate consequences? Hm, maybe I should go visit SL just to peoplewatch... I'm such a voyeur.

Anyhow, I recently read that the Feds visited Second Life to check out the gambling. Of course online gambling is illegal in most states of the USA, but people are gambling on SL and winning REAL money. For some reason though, that's ok. For now.

Honestly, I think everyone (including the Feds) knows that 'virtual' gambling with real money is still gambling, and is therefore illegal. But if the Feds decide to take that position, how can they police it, aside from taking SL off the net?

"...Linden Lab could potentially face criminal charges under the 1970 Illegal Gambling Business Act or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The latter law, passed last year, takes aim at credit card companies and other electronic funds transfers that enable Internet gambling."

..."Linden Lab's rules prohibit illegal activity.

"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," Yoon* said.

Even if the law were clear, he said the company would have no way to monitor or prevent gambling in Second Life.

*Ginsu Yoon, until recently Linden Lab's general counsel and currently vice president for business affairs

And if online gambling is illegal in SL, what about the prostitution? Sure, I know, the prostitution in SL is also virtual, no bodily fluids exchanged, just some one handed typing. It's about as dangerous as renting porn or watching pay-per-view sex webcams. But that is changing too. Technology continues to evolve, thanks to human ingenuity (and the fact that hardware doesn't complain about your leaving the toilet seat up/down). There is a growing field I can't type without laughing, you'll just have to read about it here. But as products like this are developed (Note: that link is NOT safe for work), and a virtual prostitute and virtual John can push keyboard buttons to stimulate each other's bodies in reality, where does that fall in the definition of netsex and prostitution?

As always, many questions, few answers. Except 42. I've got that answer.


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Blogger Dean said...

I start reading your blog and you stop posting on it? That's lame! :p

1:53 AM  
Blogger Elphaba said...

excellent job at projecting your issues on me. Your mom would be proud. Maybe I should load up the Hideaway with ads so I can quit my day job and blog full time for you?



10:06 AM  
Blogger Dean said...

Hahaha ;) If there were ads on this page, I would click em for you!

Thanks for posting :)

2:46 AM  

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