Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gambling, or "I Kind of Wish It WAS Illegal"

Today I entered Orgrimmar for filling up my Org and Darkspear rep bars (almost exalted!) and saw a guy offering a gambling platform -- win a little if you roll over 70, win double if you roll 100, win nothing if you roll under 70.

I ignored him, mentioned in gchat that I find it annoying, and my guild leader said it was bannable.

I thought "Well, the guy should know that" so I unignored and whispered him.

He said he'd talked to a GM the night before, and the GM had said as long as he doesn't scam anyone, he can gamble with them. I called him on it and asked if I'd get the same response if I talked to a different GM. He said yes. I believed him, because if he'd been lying he would have gotten flustered and defensive.

I said my guild leader was sure it was bannable and I'd look into it for my own curiosity, though I found gambling advertising annoying, and had just wanted to warn him if it was bannable. He said okay and we left it at that.

I didn't remember anything about gambling in the rules and penalties I'd gone through for my penalties post, so I went on the official forums and found the following Blue Post by Vrakthris from a week ago (March 26, 2009):
As stated in a previous thread by Malkorix.

Q u o t e:
Casinos are, in and of themselves, not currently against our policies.

That said, we are monitoring the practice and the overall response to it very, very actively.

As I stated in my prior post:
While this practice may not, in an of itself, necessarily represent a violation at the moment, there are activities associated with running an in-game casino which certainly can represent violations; such as spamming or scamming.

Also, if it appears that this practice is being abused or is simply having a deleterious effect on the game play environment, we are certainly willing to revise our stance on the subject. Please remember that our ultimate goal is to provide the best and most fun environment for all our players.

It remains unwise to run an in-game casino, as it is inherently risky. Merely because you can do something does not mean that you should.

There are actually a couple of threads about this issue on the first two pages. Here is my response in one of them.

Q u o t e:
As Thunderwulf pointed out, Sli, we have addressed these types of threads already. We are Game Masters though, not Developers or Policy Makers, we are only able to uphold the policies that are currently in place.

If you would like to see our policies change you are welcome to post on our Suggestion Forums with your views.

Although our currently policies do not technically prohibit casinos our policies have not changed regarding Spamming or Scamming, thus many the associated behaviors that come with a casino may be found to be against our Term
s of Use. Please report any possible violations you find accordingly and we'll investigate and take appropriate actions.
Game Master, Customer Service Forums - In-Game Support

This is very recent. Back in 2005, Blizzard banned in-game gambling establishments, which accounts for most people's confusion over the validity of the new wave of gamblers. (Thanks to brother-in-law-in-law for the link.)

So, no, casinos and gambling are not bannable anymore in the game, but they might go back. I find them annoying because they take me out of the game environment and provide reminders of one of the least scrupulous forms of making money in the real world. As you may recall, "The house always wins." And it is often those who can least afford it who are taken in.

For every winner in a gambling scenario, there are many more losers. I do not like greed and I do not like taking advantage of people, and gambling provides opportunity for both even when it's conducted without either scam or spam. There is no regulation inside the game for how to conduct a gambling ring, either, so players can offer unreasonably bad odds, odds that verge toward scamming, without real penalty as long as they stand by their word and pay out when someone wins.

To me, gambling is always a scam because the people running it will always have the edge. After all, they designed the game.


  1. You could get quite philosophical about it and question whether Blizzard are the real scammers here.

    They take our money each month and what do we get?

    Random Number Generation and Luck for fun items.

    Recycled Tier armour from the first iteration of the game.

    Removal of in-game mounts on the whims of the company (Blizzard). Ashes of Alar is still in the game. Why are they removing the raid proto drake mounts unless they are admitting to the fact that Naxxramas was too easy in comparison to the difficulty of Tempest Keep?

    We never truly 'own' our characters. We borrow or lend them from Blizzard. They are fully within their rights to delete years of our fun, investment and hard work in a matter of moments. Much like how a casino could take millions of your pounds/dollars/euros if you bet too much.

    I think Blizzard have backed down on the casino grounds because it is the same thing pretty much that they are doing. We roll, we gamble, nearly every day in the game. The idea of casinos came so naturally to players because there is a /roll system in the game already, waiting to be used.

    I hope gambling does stay in the game, although I totally agree on the dislike of people that use it to scam. At the end of the day, if the guy advertises and you take part you are signing up, if you will, to play by his rules. If you get lucky or unlucky then you must be prepared to face those consequences and you must be prepared to be wary about how much gold you spend. If you choose not to take part then theres no harm done.

    It's the same with World of Warcraft. If you don't take part in the game there is no harm done. If you do take part, you might get lucky and get into a nice guild and eventually get lucky over many weeks to get the items you want. Alternatively you could end up feeling worthless and unlucky because the items you want to have fun with never drop.

  2. In addition I'll just add that when you sign-up to the game and pay your money you are paying for a 'service' not a 'product' and this 'service of wow' can be withdrawn at anytime leaving you having spent a lot of money on nothing, equivalent in moral terms to gambling.

    I've accepted these issues when I chose to play, and eventually I am guessing the game will get shut down when newer MMO's overtake it in terms of quality.

  3. That's a depressing view. (My poor phoenix. Don't put it in their heads that they need to take it out!)

    I certainly hope they never completely shut the game down. It might become less popular once new games come out, but it would be heartbreaking to see it go altogether after all the trouble we go through.

  4. I love the system here. Perfectly even numbers representing what a stupid investment any form of gambling is.

    30% odds to win.
    1% odds to win double.

    Even if the guy pays out 3 to 1 on wins and 6 to 1 on 100s he's still coming out ahead. Blech.

  5. I'm not much of a gambler, either. Don't care for it. But...

    Gambling , and other questionable practices, could be used to add flavor to the game. For example, when Friday was growing up, I got it in my head (from the stories friends told me at work) that Booty Bay was this wild pirate town. I couldn't wait to go there. Be a pirate for awhile. Live dangerously. Get in some bar fights. Lady pirate Friday. :)

    Course I get there and it's some boats, regular ol' quests and a neutral auction house. sigh.

    Blizz tends towards simple solutions. A simple solution would be to open up free zones. Booty Bay and places like it are perfect for this. Gambling in SW? I don't see Wrynn and company condoning that terribly much. But in Booty bay. Sure! Make it a free zone. Anything goes. Course... ya gotta check your weapons and armor at the door (cave entrance). And you probably want to bring some backup before you go in. :)

    It would take some creativity to do something like the in simple, easy to play way. But Blizz is really good at that anyhow. Give the PITAs a place to hang and do their gambling and what not.

    Sounds like it'd be a fun place occasionally. :D


  6. Friday -- I could definitely see some gaming going down in Booty Bay. :) I could see Blizzard putting in some gaming tables run by goblins where players can sit and while away the hours, or "card games" against other players where you bet gold and test your mettle.

    That would fit in very well.

  7. It would all boil down to whether you trusted those pesky goblins not to rig the tables hehe ;)


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