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eluxo

Legal Issues With Virtual Currency?

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Wondering if anybody on the boards might be able to help answer a question regarding some of the legal issues with using virtual money in a game. (not taking into consideration players selling/trading characters/game items etc.. on ebay and other auction sites) If a game has no-set monthly fee, but players buy credit for in-game world, and can wager credits against other players and can place bet on particular outcomes of the game, but this money cannot be exchanged back into real money and can only be used to buy in-game items or skills, would it still be classed as a game, or would this then fall under gambling regulations? An example: If players can “wager” credits against each other in a game, such as pool, with the winner receiving the pot, is it gambling or in-game? Another Example: http://www.informatist.net/ http://www.perfectcompetition.net/ If players “invested” credit they bought for the game into a “virtual stock-market” or in-game companies (i.e the price could go up or down each week/month, meaning the players either win or lose credits they invest), with the “virtual stock-market” being effectively controlled by the game designers, is this gambling or still a game? Would requiring the players to purchase credits instead of setting a flat-monthly fee, mean it would be regarded more as gambling than a game? (specifically in the USA and UK) Would having an option to wager credit against another player or invest in in-game companies/virtual stock-market mean that the anyone under 18-21 not be able to play the game, even if this credit can only be used to purchase items/skills in-game? I’ve been reading some legal stuff over the last few days but most of the legal regulations or proposals seem to only be relevant when virtual money can be exchanged back into real money. Sorry if the post is a little incoherent and long-winded, just wondered if anyone might be able to answer the questions. I’ve mainly been looking at US and UK regulations. Thanks.

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If the virtual currency cannot be exchanged back into real currency, then it is not gambling.

On the other hand, if the virtual currency can be exchanged into real currency, then it can be regulated by federal gambling law - although I don't think there are any specific laws regarding virtual gambling/economies. I feel that in the near future, there will be more specific laws passed regarding the issue. Federal law is generally vague and full of gray areas.

This is similar to a player threatening the life of another player 'in-game'. The 'victim' can actually file a complaint and the 'suspect' can in-fact be prosecuted for their crime.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_economy

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SwordFish

I just wanted to thank you for that post. I am developing a game with in game betting where the in game currency can not be converted back to hard currency but I was not sure if I needed the server in the Caymen Islands or not to get around gambling laws. Not that I won't continue to check with local legislation but ... much appreciated

JaEvans

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