Second Life creator Linden Lab on Wednesday instituted a ban on betting games that "rely on chance or random number generation to determine a winner, or rely on the outcome of real-life organized sporting events."
The ban includes casino games such as blackjack, Pai Gow, poker, roulette and slot machines, Linden spokeswoman Robin Harper said in a Second Life website posting announcing the new policy.
Because local laws regarding gambling may very depending on where Second Life's nearly 8.5 million members live, Linden "decided to take a broader approach by prohibiting all games" that meet its criteria, Harper wrote.
Linden threatens to punish in-world gambling operations by deleting offense-related content, suspending or terminating the accounts of those involved and possibly reporting them to real-world authorities.
"Im no fan of gambling, but I am a fan of freedom," Second Life resident Apollia Pirandello wrote in a chat forum linked to Harper's posting.
"I dont think people should be forbidden from gambling if they really want to waste their money on it."
Second Life, an online world in which people are represented by animated figures referred to as "avatars," last month began requiring members to have their ages verified before getting access to in-world sex spots.