CNet has an article about something that some of us in the industry have been talking about for a long time: whether or not people running casinos in Second Life are causing Linden to be liable for running an Internet gambling site. In the wake of recent legislation, pretty much the entire domestic Internet gambling industry moved offshore. Edit: a longer version of the original article, by Adam Pasick, can be found here.
The trick to staying legal, you see, is not running afoul of the aspect of the rule that says “something of value” cannot be gambled. Given the Lindex and easy and officially approved currency exchanges, this is a tricky line to walk. According to the article, Linden has several times consulted with the government on the issue.
This is just one of the big risks to having official currency cashouts from your virtual world, alongside questions about pornography of various sorts, money laundering, and so on. It’s good to see that a kneejerk reaction hasn’t happened.