EVE Online has long been known for being one of those open MMOs that allows its player base to lie, cheat, and steal their way to the top of the game. Player factions are called corporations and how much money your character has is a big influence on what they’re able to do in game. For the time being, as long as you aren’t selling in-game currency or otherwise converting it into real dollars, CCP (the company behind EVE Online) is allowing you the freedom to do pretty much anything you want with the in-game currency. After all, you can purchase time cards and convert them into ISK (EVE’s currency) directly.
The gambling bug has hit EVE Online like a hammer, turning otherwise normal player-run corporations into full-fledged casinos with trillions of ISK in transactions going through their corporate wallets regularly. There is a lot of money in gambling, and this is just as true with EVE Online. Here are a couple of examples of these gambling options, and how they work:
Somer Blink has grown quite a bit since its founding only a short time ago. This site can be accessed through the in-game browser and uses the in-game API to turn what would be a mediocre browsing experience into a gambling hub. Players donate their in-game currency to a holding corporation that is automated to receive deposits and update the player’s Somer Blink account with the currency. At this point, the player has placed their trust in Somer to carry out the lotteries and withdrawals in a proper manner. Once you’ve donated to Somer, you must gamble that currency through its system before you can withdraw anything. This means you could win big and withdraw much more than you put in, but you could also lose your character’s life savings.
The lotteries held on the site are fairly simple. A ship, item, or group of items are put up on the block, and you can purchase as many tickets as you’d like up to a limited amount for each item. For example, a ship that has a buy-out of 20,000,000 ISK could have eight tickets available to Somer players at 4,000,000 a piece. You could buy a single ticket and have a 1/8 chance of winning the item (or the ISK buy-out) or you could buy five of them and have a greater than 50% chance of winning a smaller net profit. These mini-lotteries are called Blinks, and they go on non-stop all day, every day.
EVE Online Poker
When it comes to gambling, few games are played more than Texas Hold’em. This player-driven site allows players to deposit their in-game currency to a holding corporation, which can then be converted into chips in a virtual casino. This casino is accessible through a simple Web site (external browser required) and played much like Yahoo! Poker. Tournaments and pay-as-you-go tables are available to players, enabling them to deposit and cash out chips as they please. Instead of resulting in real money being sent to your account, your cashed winnings would go directly into the wallet of your in-game character.
As long as EVE Online currency can’t be converted directly into real currency, it would be hard to say this game will see the same crack-down Second Life did when it had to close down all of its casinos a few years ago. At the moment, the only real benefactor of this gambling craze is CCP, which sells game cards to eager players looking to increase their in-game wealth fast enough to hit the poker tables again and again. Still, the corporations running these virtual casinos are building their wealth as the service continues, making them stronger and more influential in the game as they build larger and larger player bases. Let’s just hope that these virtual ventures don’t end the same way so many do in this MMO: with a sudden disappearance of their beloved services, leaving players wondering where their virtual money went.