Feeds

Virtual FBI jackboots to march into Sadville?

FBI probing virtual gambling in virtual world

The Power of One Infographic

House of Cards Virtual regulation of the avatar community from the DOJ could be on the way, as Linden Labs has invited the FBI to probe gambling in Linden Dollars on the popular avatar playspace, legitimizing concerns expressed on Sadville blogs after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) last year.

According to a Reuters report the FBI is investigating the legality of the virtual casinos that have proven to be some of the most popular destinations in avatar land - maybe because the rest of Sadville is so boring.

The explosion of virtual currencies has raised law enforcement concerns around the world, primarily due to money laundering and the other criminal possibilities presented, but to a lesser extent over ideological issues of economic control. Linden Dollars currently trade at 264 to 1 with old-fashioned greenbacks.

"We have invited the FBI several times to take a look around in Second Life and raise any concerns they would like, and we know of at least one instance that federal agents did look around in a virtual casino," said Ginsu Yoon, formerly Linden Lab's general counsel and the current VP for business affairs.

Linden Labs could find itself in violation of a host of federal laws that cover interstate gambling and currency transactions, including such DOJ favorites as the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act, the UIGEA, and possibly even the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The federal anti-gambling statutes only require that there be an element of chance and that something of value be wagered. A convertible virtual currency like the Linden Dollar seems to qualify. And what's really the difference between a Sadville casino and an online casino like Bodog.com? Both exist only online, and both trade funds as electronic data packets. Why is one a problem and not the other?

Could virtual prosecutions be next? Or virtual FBI agents kicking down virtual doors? The mind spins.

This game might actually get exciting. We'll keep you posted. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.