3

Players of Red Dead Redemption 2: Online (RDO from now on) have been requesting that Poker or other gambling activities be added to the game.

These were expected to be included, as they are present in the Single Player, and in the predecessor Red Dead Redemption.

Many players of the game are suggesting that Poker or other gambling activities can not be included because of legal restrictions on Online Gambling.

Notably, RDO features two forms of currency. In-game "Cash", and "Gold". While Gold can be purchased with real money (Micro-transactions), the In-Game "Cash" has zero interaction with Gold, and can not be purchased with real money. “Cash” can also not be redeemed for real-world money, prizes, or anything else.

Transferring of currency is currently not something available in the game.

“Cash” is earned in all activities of the game, and no prizes would be tied specifically to the game of poker.

If Poker was to be included, and restricted to only In-Game "Cash", would this be an issue regarding Online Gambling laws in a significant number of countries?

Of note:

RDO is an M-Rated (18+) game.

With conservative Pot Limits gambling would be a vastly slower way to earn in-game “Cash” compared to other activities in-game.

4

If Poker was to be included, and restricted to only In-Game "Cash", would this be an issue regarding Online Gambling laws in a significant number of countries?

It is hard to give a comprehensive answer because laws vary significantly among countries. I will focus on U.S. law, but other countries very likely adopt a more stringent definition of gambling (Muslim nations are at one extreme of the spectrum, since their religion prohibits games of chance).

Under U.S. law (or at least in some of its jurisdictions) the scheme you outline would not meet the legal definition of gambling. The Black's Law Dictionary defines gamble as "[t]o play, or game [...] involv[ing],not only chance, but a hope of gaining something beyond the amount played".

For a more formalized characterization of gambling, see Com. v. Irwin, 535 Pa. 524, 527 (1993):

The three elements of gambling are (1) consideration; (2) a result determined by chance rather than skill; and (3) reward

There, the court distinguishes between reward and entertainment in that in the latter "the player can never "win" anything other than a prize worth less than the amount he has played", Id. at 529.

This is consistent with the case law from other jurisdictions. See Farina v. Kelly, 147 Conn. 444, 449 (1960):

[A] lottery is characterized by three constituent elements, namely, a prize, a chance, and a price. [...] [A]s commonly understood, gambling involves not only chance but a hope of gaining something beyond the amount played

Lastly, since

In-Game "Cash" has zero interaction with Gold, and can not be purchased with real money

it is evident that the purpose of adding Poker the game in the way you describe is pure entertainment, not for a player's expectation of reward as outlined in the aforementioned cases.

  • This assumes tht the in-game "cash" not only cannot be bought, but that it cannot be redeemed for actual money or other things of value. It further seems to assume that in-game "cash " cannot be transferred from one player to another, in a way which might be done as part of an out-of-game transaction for real money.. Otherwise the "cash" might be considered a reward beyond entertainment. – David Siegel Mar 19 at 19:39
  • @DavidSiegel Even if in-game "cash" were redeemed for actual money or things of value, it would still be legal as long as the value obtained does not match or exceed the amount the player paid (see the excerpt of Com. v. Irwin at 529). Whether or not players arrange for an out-of-game transaction, that is beyond the [online game] supplier's responsibility. – Iñaki Viggers Mar 19 at 20:00
  • 1
    @David Siegel, it doesn’t assume that the currency can not be bought or redeemed for actual money or things of value. These are facts stated in my question. Regarding the selling of in-game currency for real currency, there is no way to transfer currency (this is actually my assumed reason why it is not included) however poker style games would certainly create a means for this. However, given that “selling” the currency would violate the game’s rules (as is the case in most online games), would that not matter? – SchrodingersStat Mar 19 at 20:05
  • 1
    @DavidSiegel The title clearly says “Zero real-world currency involved.” Although I will say, I appreciate the conservative approach. Given Europe has stricter gambling regulations, a strict view is appreciated. – SchrodingersStat Mar 19 at 20:18
  • 1
    @SchrodingersStat : I am just trying to point out the kinds of issues a possibly hostile regulator might raise. Regulators are well aware that some people promote illegal activity while claiming to do no such thing. – David Siegel Mar 19 at 21:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.