There's been a crackdown on an in-game gambling circuit surrounding a popular sci-fi MMO. Following up on the big Counter-Strike gambling scandal from earlier this year, the new scandal has seen several thousands of dollars worth of gambling assets seized in the process.
Polygon reported that the crackdown is happening in EVE Online. Developer CCP began the crackdown after they began investigating one of the biggest galactic in-game wars they've dubbed "World War Bee". It was a huge battle involving a group known as The Imperium and tons of mercenaries. The big battle cost The Imperium trillions of in-game currency known as ISK.
The crackdown from CCP resulted in trillions of ISK funds seized from various players and lots of players were banned in the process. Polygon estimates that the in-game currency seized could have a real world value of $620,000.
According to Polygon, the war was based on profiteering, not an in-game political fallout or some other military coup. It turns out that a gambling site known as I Want ISK was bankrolling in-game mercenaries to do battle against The Imperium. The money was being funneled from users who were using I Want ISK's digital gambling services for EVE Online. They would bet on things with in-game ISK, and then the owners of I Want ISK used that money to pay the mercenaries for the necessary funds to take on The Imperium.
Essentially, one of the largest in-game corporations was dismantled in a specific sector thanks to a gambling ring. Polygon is saying that some within the EVE Online community are now starting to rename the war to the "Casino War".
Some players and the I Want ISK owner are peeved that CCP banned users and seized funds. The Imperium aren't too worried because they've already reorganized their efforts to another part of the galaxy and have begun rebuilding to be bigger and better than before.
According to a member of The Imperium, he states that they simply underestimated the amount of money that I Want ISK had at their disposal to bankroll the war. The underestimation came from their lack of accounting how strong gambling has a hold on people.
In fact, the gambling rings within gaming have been a hot topic as of late following the big scandal earlier this year involving various high-profile YouTubers who were running rings on the side while using their YouTube channels to promote them. There was a whole underground community of these gambling rings for Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that got really out of hand when various gamers began investigating the rings and exposed the people behind them.
Various lawsuits were filed and state commissions got involved with the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ordeal, which escalated enough to force Valve to issue several public statements about the matter. In Australia they attempted to avoid any legal issues by simply outright banning any digital gambling involving eSports, as reported by eSports Betting Report.
In the case of CCP's EVE Online, the developers are already cleaning up the gambling rings and seizing assets. The in-game corps affected by this are getting back to business while those running the gambling rings have decided to move on. The owner of I Want ISK plans on opening his own space game centered around betting and gambling.