Monday, 15 August 2016

Is CCP gambling?

This is more something the Aussies will know about, but either way, here's a TL;DR on the background.

We have an Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon. he began his politican career as an anti-gambling advocate (gambling is a $12B per annum industry in Australia, alone, mostly horse and sports betting and poker machines / slot machines). So he did well harnessing outrage at impersonal multibillion dollar industries which exploit - without a doubt - the people in society who are addicted to gambling.

So now Xenophon, in an election stunt one would think (we just had one, you probably didn't notice because it was boring AF) has begun agitating to have online gaming brought under the umbrella of anti-gambling legislation.

What the fuck has this got to do with EVE, you ask? Money badger Coalition? IWANTISK? EveBet (run by Aussies, I believe)?

It's an interesting question whether,
a) the Australian government (which is in a tenuous position and needs to suck Xenophon's politicock to get anywhere) will
i) even entertain the proposed laws in any shape or form and if it does,
ii) will it even pass the laws?
b) Whether Australia has the jurisdiction to enforce anti-gambling legislation on foreign domiciled publishers or content providers,
c) if the government does have the laws and jurisdictions, will content providers remove lucrative as fuck revenue streams or
d) maybe they'll wall off Australians from this content in-game or, even worse, just refuse to provide service to Australia. Which we all know will just revolve around Aussies using VPN's and the like to work around geoblocking in all its forms

There's also a lot of wwork to be done in classifying gambling online in-game versus gambling online on the outcome of games.

And, in the EVE context, is gambling with in-game money (ISK) going to be covered? it's in a way a fig leaf to classify ISK as a non-asset; true you can't monetise it according to the EULA but that's irrelevant if the law is designed to stop gambling addicts (kids or otherwise) from taking their (or daddy's) credit cards and indulging a gambling addiction. it just means that instead of people winning big a la CSGO random jackpot loot crates and gambling, trading, speculating on it that way and making bank...people just pay CCP fully to convert money to PLEX, which means that their "winnings" are not even winnings as they can't be cashed out.

It's an interesting thing to consider that the way the EULA is set up, CCP is firstly profiting totally from all forms of in-game gambling with and on EVE. That includes the Alliance Tournaments and ISK gambling on sporting events (like the Olympics, lets say, or Euro 2016). The gamblers pay CCP, and that's it. The loss is total, and CCP has no interest in stopping people sinking thousands into PLEX to pay for ISK betting. In fact, erversely, the EULA really encourages CCP to support this form of gambling, because CCP makes dank bank.

Secondly, because you can't cash out winnings legally, the problem gamblers may get even more addicted because their money is lost anyway, and they may as well keep gambling away until its all gone.

I think Nick Xenophon has a very poor understanding of gaming, but a very keen understanding of gambling. E-sports and gambling are made for one another, and despite a few MMO's being runaway successes and a few games being runaway successes, the fact is CSGO is making bank on gambling because it has to, and can't afford to really cut it out. And the way the world works, if you cut it out the gambling providers will make a work-around, and take the gambling underground and take the mney out of the game developer's pockets.

it bears watching, because while Xenophon has his crusade, he isn't particularly religious. There's a hundred times as many puritans in America who could, once they're finished bricking up women's vajayjays and gay men's butts, turn their ire to other vices. Like gambling, and online gambling, and then make the connection that people treat computer games like SRS BSNS and make SRS DANK BANK from gambling on the SRS BSNS.

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