FBI investigates gambling in Second Life

The virtual online PC life simulator, Second Life, which is often compared to Sony's upcoming PS3 Home network, is under investigation by the FBI on the legality of its virtual gambling features.

Virtual casinos within Second Life allow gamers to gamble using the game's currency, the Linden Dollar, which is exchanged for real-life US dollars.

Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, have invited FBI agents to poke around these virtual casinos, seeking legal guidance after heavy restrictions on internet gambling were introduced in the US last year.

Most lawyers deem that gambling with Linden Dollars in Second Life violates US anti-gambling laws, reports news.com.

Speaking of said laws,a New York lawyer, who studied the issues of gambling in virtual worlds, said: "What they did was go after the processors, and made it a crime to process payments that relate to online gambling sites. Linden could potentially be held as the same sort of processor."

"It's not always clear to us whether a 3D 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," said Linden Lab's vice president of business affairs, Ginsu Yoon.

April 5, 2007