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7/26/2007
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Second Life Casino Owner Left Scrambling After Gambling Ban

The Second Life entrepreneur complains that Linden Lab was happy to take his money for months after the U.S. banned Internet gambling. And then Linden Lab shut the casinos down abruptly Wednesday.

Like many other casino owners in Second Life, Anthony Smith was struggling on Thursday to figure out what future, if any, he had on the 3-D social network.

Linden Lab, which develops and operates Second Life, announced a ban on gambling Wednesday. Until then, gambling had been one of the most popular activities in Second Life.

Smith, of Brighton, U.K., feels Linden Lab dealt with him unfairly. He notes that U.S. law banning Internet gambling went into effect in October.

"If this law was made in October, 2006, I think it is wrong of Linden Lab to take my money," said Smith, a mortgage broker in real life. He noted that the name of the business -- Casino World -- made it obvious what kind of business he was running.

Smith, 34, who goes by the name "Anthonymark Alcott" in Second Life, operates a full server on Second Life -- known in SL jargon as a "sim."

We interviewed Smith in-world Thursday. He teleported in with his avatar still wearing signs and a mask from a protest that he'd been attending immediately prior to the interview.

He said he spent 1 million Linden Dollars -- about US$3,800 -- on the sim and virtual gambling equipment and furnishings, since launching in February.

And that's not counting staff or his own sweat equity -- he said he's been working 12-14 hours per day on building Casino World. He said he invested all revenues from the clubs back into the business, to pay for new equipment and entertainment.

Smith had planned, starting next month, to buy one sim per month and lease it out for residential and commercial business. But those plans are on hold.

"This will be the start of the end for Second Life, just as the U.S. government wants," Smith said in an interview conducted over text IM. We edited his comments lightly for language and spelling.

He said he believes the U.S. government is threatened by Second Life, because they can't control SL or tax it. Also, he said, real-life casinos want Internet gambling shut down to avoid competition.

"They grease the US government's hand," he said. "For a country where you are supposed to be free, it sure is a contradiction."

Shutting down gambling will stop Second Life growth, because gambling represents a significant portion of Second Life transactions, Smith said.

He also said he believes Linden Lab's abrupt implementation of the new policy is unfair.

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jakeward768
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jakeward768,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/5/2014 | 7:47:54 AM
Casinos
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