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.