The Casinos Of EVE Online Are Being Rumbled

The gambling dens and casinos of EVE Online are being shut down in a sweep of bans by developers CCP. This is because the game’s new terms of service – introduced to get the MMO ready for its upcoming free-to-play era – now include a direct prohibition against “games of chance”. This means gambling is now effectively outlawed. More interestingly, remember all those kingpins who funded the recent megawar against the once-unstoppable Goons? They’ve been loudly stripped of all their money and assets, and thrown out of the game.

To summarise, the end user license agreement for the game now includes the line: “You may not use, transfer or assign any game assets for games of chance operated by third parties.” That means running a gambling website like Iwantisk.com, which was a big source of money to one side in EVE’s ‘Northern War’, is now against the rules. That very website has already had its in-game accounts banned and money confiscated, following a separate investigation by the developers which found that it was guilty of “large-scale Real Money Trading” – a practice already banned in EVE which involves selling the in-game currency, ISK, for real currencies.

The heads of EVE Casino have also been banned for breaking the rules, including 1RONBANK, another one of the mega-rich backers of the recent war. He is the host of a Twitch channel which regularly holds competitions and games to win ISK and other prizes like ships. “I will not discuss my ban…” he said on Twitter. “But it is not for breaching Section 6 of the EULA. I am appealing.”

According to CCP’s statement, the banker was banned for “sustained breaches of our Developer License Agreement” which sets out rules for making “new applications for use with EVE”.

You can read all the changes to EVE Online’s EULA here, but the basic message is that gambling websites are no longer going to be tolerated.

As of the launch of EVE Online: Ascension, the hosting of, and participation in any form of third party gambling service that utilizes in game assets, currency, or the EVE IP will be strictly prohibited.

In the run-up to November 8th, all services that offer any form of third party gambling of this nature are required to wind down their operations… our security team will be closely monitoring all these in game entities to ensure that no illicit behavior occurs, and that any movement of in game assets and currency remains in line with our current EULA and Terms of Service.

It’s a big move for a developer which normally likes to take a hands-off approach to player-made skulduggery, but given the recent problems with CS:GO gambling and FIFA coins, perhaps it is not a surprise that the company decided to stamp out the controversial practice in their own interstellar kingdom. EVE is going free-to-play in November too, which means this really was the time to do it, before the game opens its doors to a new tier of players. At least now they will only have double-your-money scams to worry about, and won’t get washed away in a sea of roulette balls.

The gambling scene in EVE was causing some annoyed murmuring among players, not least among the leaders of the Goonswarm. “That advantage of exploiting the gambling addiction of players in the game is so extreme that it unbalances the entire financial and resource based aspect,” said TheMittani, leader of the Goons (pictured below left), when he spoke to our own mercenary writer Steven Messner in May. “Any kind of game that doesn’t have an age gate should not be allowing gambling period. There is a real human cost to promoting and incentivizing gambling addiction.”

It’s possible some of the ultra-wealthy players behind those gambling services saw something like this coming, however. Both 1RONBANK and the banker Lenny Kravitz2 (above right), the main driving force behind the recent war, cashed out their in-game shares in IwantISK about two weeks ago, both within 24 hours of each other, according to the EVE news site operated by TheMittani.

We’ve reached out to the kingpins and military leaders involved for comment and we’ll let you know if any more juicy space drama unfolds.

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48 Comments

  1. Baines says:

    Is this CCP reacting to the growing legal issues of such gambling or is it CCP changing the rules to protect its friends in the Goons? Or is it both?

    • Premium User Badge

      Lacero says:

      Another war won on the forums, fun removed, blobs restored.

    • JarinArenos says:

      The Goons had been hurt, it was only a matter of time.

    • Seth_Keta says:

      This isn’t the first time CCP has changed the rules or even broken the rules to help their friends. Goonswarm brings attention to their game, and if Goonswarm is threatened, they’ll do what they can to protect them. It’s disgusting, but that’s just how they work.

      • Nahadoth says:

        LOL. I Love that this is the narrative now. It was the same story Goonswarm Federation threw around in the days of BoB. Funny that it’s being turned back on them. Especially when there’s the same amount of truth to it.

      • Cropduster says:

        I love a goonspiracy as much as the next man but seriously what type of ‘help’ are ccp giving them.

        The war was lost like 9 months ago. The CFC is we knew it is dead. And all this does is ruin Mittens’ pipe dream about owning his own rmt casino.

    • Milkman Dan says:

      I’m not really sure how you interpret Goonswarm Federation losing all of its space and many of its allies as being ‘helped’ by CCP.

    • Kamalen says:

      There is no big plot here. Illegal gambling is a very serious and hardly punished offence in many countries and they cannot afford any form of related trial.

      Following the whole CS:GO debacle, many legal offices begin to wake up and they just want to hide from the fallout.

      • Hobbes says:

        That explains the changes in TOS, which is entirely reasonable, but not the mass seizing of assets and banning which happened before the TOS went into effect. Most of the big players who were involved in the moneybadger war pulled out of the casinos well ahead of time as they knew the TOS changes were coming.

        The bans are strictly because CCP can’t afford for the goons to get entirely wiped out of play, and at this point with no territory and little income, they’re pretty much dying on the vine.

    • foop says:

      I love this. Years ago, before the great war, you’d hear people complaining about how CCP were great pals with BoB and how this gave them an unfair advantage. Now it seems that they’re great friends with the Goons, BoB’s nemesis. How things change.

      • zog 081 says:

        Thing was, back in the day the T2 BPO scandal was real. A lot of the CCP workforce was drawn from players with real world skills who wanted to work for the company. I dont know exactly how many currently, but I know historically there have been a lot of guys who went from large nullsec alliances into ccp itself. Its not like they are some giant corrupt group all looking out for their buddies, but one incident like the T2 BPO scandal, and the precedents out there, it has happened before.

    • zog 081 says:

      It was CCP reacting to the potential legal issues that could be cropping up. CS:GO gambling, and the issues its causing steam are the prompt. They are already running the servers on hamsters and paying the devs in napkins, serious legal issues could leave them belly up.

      Its also solving a cluster of thorny issues in the game world as well. Bankrolling tens of thousands of players for a war is problematic, access to that kind of in game wealth would basically mean a small cabal of the super super super wealthy could dictate the goings on. We’re talking players with a hundred trillion plus in the wallets. Then there is the almost inevitability that when a group work together with sums like that available, it is basically certain that someones gonna try and RMT a bit on the side, this could easily be hidden by fixing a game in the casino here or there to see that the payout goes to the RMT ISK buyer. It follows that there is also an issue with the security of the outside sites themselves. The war happened because a guy that helped setup and run the out of game casino website still had server access after he was “fired” and decided to screw with the casino by taking a ton of ISK, a thief with more time to prepare could have potentially rigged the site for however long until discovered, point is having a potentially rigged casino screwing your playerbase out of game would also have been a nightmare.

      I never screwed with IWI, but I did play a dozen or so games with Somer Blink back in the day. I had heard a ton of people say they won their first couple of bets, so, my first bet I bought a ticket on a titan and won, did it again, won, did it a third time, lost, then after that went to a carrier, then down to battleships. After the first two wins it was about 1/12 or whatever number of tickets were in a ship raffle. Long story short I came out around 120+bil positive from that experience. Point is, I believe the first couple games were rigged at Somer to hook people in.

      This wasn’t done to help Goons, it was to protect CCP, and also to avoid having new F2P alpha accounts getting into that.

  2. Astrothaumaturge says:

    The latter, of course.

  3. RaunakS says:

    So it’s as if the Bee guys won the great war after all, right? I mean now their opponents are no longer funded by massive megacorps and their cohesiveness will probably break. I wonder how much ingame politics will change now.

  4. Otterley says:

    We’ve reached out to the kingpins and military leaders involved for comment […]
    Now, that’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day ^^

  5. Premium User Badge

    modzero says:

    Now that’s a change that might bring me back.

  6. Stellar Duck says:

    Didn’t Mittens try and fail to start his own casino though?

    Or try and fail to write a book? Or pay his writers in ISK?

    I can never remember all the shit he comes up with.

    • Milkman Dan says:

      Yes, he tried to mimic existing betting sites with Evening Games. It failed badly. So did the Kickstarter to hire someone to write and publish a book about EVE Online.

    • Nahadoth says:

      Yea. Hilarious isn’t it? The dudes a compulsive liar and a hypocrit. Amazing people still take him seriously, but that’s the type of leader a certain sort of people crave aparently.

    • Distec says:

      Yeah, the man is a twit. I can’t reasonably expect any given RPS writer to be some in-depth expert on Eve (maybe Brendan is, I dunno). But it would have been nice to see Mittens’ quoted statements here given some additional context.

      Concerns about gambling – and particularly its affects on younger players – are all well and valid, but they should be treated with a skeptical eye when they come from his mouth.

  7. Pogs says:

    CCP seems to be following Valves reaction to UK and US investigations into on-line gambling – particularly by minors.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Yeah, particularly with it becoming free to play soon, it seems like an obvious move to prevent lots of potential trouble, if not quite inevitable.

      The bans seem a bit harsh though, unless there was a clear warning it seems a bit unnecessary to come down so hard so suddenly.

      • Kamalen says:

        Only two biggies on other suspitions got bans. Others operators are not only fine, but allowed to operate until the next expansion release.

      • Slazia says:

        It’s becoming F2P? That’s interesting… That may well bring me back. I can’t pay the 20 dollars a month subscriptions fees. There’s no way I can justify the price of buying 12 games on sale just to play one for a year.

        • Darloth says:

          Yes, but.

          The but is that you won’t be able to fly anything larger or fancier than a T1 cruiser. On the other hand, T1 cruisers and frigates and stuff are still fairly fun, and I think it’s a great move to get people like myself (and possibly you) who like the game but don’t want to pay for it on a regular basis to actually give it more attention, play on and off, and then occasionally think “Eh, I want to play with this new thing they’ve released, I’ll sub for a month”.

    • Hobbes says:

      There wasn’t, as mentioned above, this is mostly about protecting CCP’s main draw, the goons and goonswarm. Having lost their territory and being slowly drained of their finances, they were dying a slow death, now through CCP they’ve been given a second bite at getting back into things.

      • Nahadoth says:

        Dude, you’re being rediculous.

      • Pogs says:

        Yes I’m sure the conspiracy theorists are right and this is not at all about CCP trying to avoid being prosecuted by the UK/US courts for allegedly permitting illegal gambling. However ignorance is no defense so probably too late.

  8. Sound says:

    Allusions to favoritism toward Goonswarm is incredibly silly. They are not considered Eve’s major PR draw, despite the content and conflicts they create. That organization would continue and do it’s thing, regardless. If anything, CCP probably mildly dislikes dealing with them, and would prefer them gone.

    If anything, this change was to get ahead of the real-world legal trends. Better to avoid legal trouble entirely.

    But beyond that, this move is better for the health of the game, it’s economy, and it’s famous power struggles. When one organization can leverage an out-of-game site to mass-finance the in-game organization, the connection between the in-game economy and the maintenance of your organization is significantly compromised. Where one traditional Eve organization can be denied income through normal, in-game means, and withered on the vine, the out-of-game financed org will be far more resilient against any economic warfare.

    When one side may be attacked, but the other is economically invulnerable, this withers peoples enthusiasm in the game severely. In a game such as this, it *must* be possible for one player to potentially gain the same advantages of their competitor exclusively via in-game means.

    • KDR_11k says:

      They could’ve given the casinos a grace period for shutting down their operations and moving all their ISK into in-game corporations and efforts. Instead they nuked the people with the money, apparently even before the new TOS appeared. That doesn’t seem to mesh with the organic “everything is allowed” approach in all those EVE reports.

      • Itkovian says:

        It was only specific individuals that received a ban. Sites like Eve-Bet.com, have not had anyone banned and are able to continue until the new ToS actually come into effect, with the November release. I don’t know why the individuals in question have been banned (you generally never find out these things for hopefully obvious reasons) but I find it extremely unlikely it is any kind of ‘favouritism’ by CCP. The time to do that would have been months ago and I don’t think they’re so important to bringing people into Eve.

        • Mokinokaro says:

          A bunch of the major casino players got caught doing RMT last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was just widening of that particular net.

    • JarinArenos says:

      “mildly dislikes”? Considering that there’s still a number of current and former Goonswarm members still working at CCP Games, I’m not inclined to dismiss complaints so readily.

      • Sound says:

        And what of the employees who are NC or PL?
        It seems to me many players want a particular conclusion to be true. Even as they lack data to give these conspiracies any meaningful weight.

        I’m all for tribal conflict in Eve, but there’s a certain feverish partisanship that comes out in conspiracy theories like this that’s just really ugly. A real drag on the community.

  9. Shinard says:

    I agree with this generally, but still, as an outsider it seemed great to have somebody challenging the Goonswarm. I mean, everything I’ve heard about the Mittani just makes him seem like an arrogant bully with a knack for propoganda, it was good seeing him on the losing side for once. I hope something comes up to prevent Goonswarm dominance, anyway.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Goonswarm dominance is highly unlikely to happen again. One of the major reasons they fell is that most of their number had simply quit playing as Mittani tried to consolidate power.

      The Swarm was, at one point, quite a mix of corporations from Goonfleet who tended to be behind the headline grabbing operations to more relaxed groups like Greater Gune who were just there to have fun and fairly casual. Mittani drove most of the latter groups out with The Imperium and that caused an enormous hit to their numbers.

      The days of Goonswarm (and I think any comparable giant alliance) are long gone. Things were simply different online back when it and BoB formed.

  10. dorobo says:

    Long time ago i once fell for the contract scam. It wasn’t even jita. I was sleepy or something. I started cursing myself in local for my stupidity and the scammer had mercy on me and returned half of my isk :)

    Btw RPS alliance tournament is happening now. It might be of interest to you.

    • Darloth says:

      I once bought a T1 cruiser for roughly 100 times what it was worth.

      I didn’t get any of that back, but… at least I got a T1 cruiser, and an expensive lesson that short duration public contracts are NEVER worth it. I think I still have it. :)

      • FireStorm1010 says:

        I bought a large drone t1 for 90milions:)

        Actually the scam was quite smart, just sell with same price as regular price, add a few zeros.When you wer ein hurry and tired, was easy to click. It was before all the default orderings and warnings…

  11. FireStorm1010 says:

    Wow Eve Online going free to play. I tought it would never happen. Tough in a way i guess it was alwys such with plex bussines, buying ingame isk with real money…Anyway feels to me like an end of an era.Si the simulatenous players online number dropping significantly and its an attempt to reverse the trend?

    • Cropduster says:

      The ‘Active Players Online’ stat has always been a bit of abitrary doomsaying imo.

      The real drops happened after the banning of multiboxing software, botting crackdowns and the jump range nerfs (less alts required/allowed). Personally – and there’s no way I can prove this – I think the ammount people actively in space and doing stuff hasn’t really gone down by much. People just don’t have 20+ carrier or ice mining alts anymore.

      But the free clones should be great, the more people out in space the better.

  12. Eleriel says:

    this from the company that held a lottery for tech 2 blueprint originals.
    I digress in jest.
    good move.

    • Sardonic says:

      The lottery system kind of owned really. Any other system would have likely been a huge unfun grind. After setting up the agents, your chances went up the longer you played. It was almost like setting yourself up to receive social security benefits later on. And when you finally got the mail that you got one, it was magical.

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