Gambling in MMO’s: Why Isn’t There More of it?

Thinking back on Asheron’s Call yesterday, one of the things that came to mind was the casino. I won’t really go into the details of how it worked, because it was actually somewhat monotonous, however, it did make me wonder why gambling has played such a small part in MMO’s as of now. I think it would be a wonderful thing to implement into a game, as it provides a different sort of interaction, and allows the player to win some money or lose some money.

Granted, there are some reasons that immediately come to mind for why a developer might be reluctant to add gambling to their game. First of all, it could be seen as an unhealthy way of promoting addictive and gambling natures with people, especially younger kids. I hate to sound callous, but there many, many resources available to children on the net that do a much better job (not that this is necessarily a good thing) of this than an MMO could. Also, this is following the same argument that because you play GTA 4 you are going to go out and shoot the next person walking down the street. Yes, this is a slight risk, but it doesn’t mean that everyone shouldn’t be able to enjoy themselves at the expense of the very few. Perhaps parents could put a lock on their children’s account so they can’t participate. This might help to alleviate some of those concerns.

The next thing that could cause problems would be that the games were rigged in favor of the developers to try to take more money out of the economy or to keep from shelling out more money into the economy. This is the way gambling works, folks; The house always wins. They might have a lot of small and a few very large payouts every once in a while, but they are always going to end up ahead. Does that mean that we are going to refuse to gamble? Hardly, and why should we? As long as you only gamble with what you can afford to lose, then it can be a lot of fun.

How often are you sitting around in town either waiting for a group to form or just chatting with your friends? I’m guessing fairly often. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could run over to the bar and play a few games, and possibly come out a few gold richer? This is a great time-filler for when players are feeling a bit bored, need to pass the time for a while, or simply have some gold burning through their pocket.

Now for a few ideas that I would really love to see implemented in a few MMO’s. One of the things that really irked me in WoW was the fact that you couldn’t bet on the races in Shimmering Flats! Not exactly a game-breaker, I know, but I still think it would have been great. This was such a great feature to implement into the game, but they could have done much better. These are the kinds of things that make the world feel alive, but why not take them as far as you can go? Make it so there are seven or eight machines racing, all with different odds, but they all have at least some chance of winning. After all, those bleachers aren’t really getting any use right now so why not fill them up?

Also, what about an arena? This is actually sort of a two-fold issue for me. I would really love for players to be able to fight randomly generated monsters with each wave getting tougher and tougher than the last. On the other hand, how freakin’ awesome would it be to bet on a murloc fight? I hate those little things, let them kill each other! DIE DIE DIE!! *breathes* So I really don’t like murlocs… I don’t think I’m the only one. Plus, if I can make some coin in the process, this would be the best thing ever.

So some gambling elements that I would like to see are races, arenas, and luck games. Are there any other games or events that you guys would like to see, or simply mini-games you would like to play in your favorite MMO? Are there any problems with gambling that I haven’t considered? Let me know.

~Kanthalos

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7 comments so far

  1. Thallian on

    That shimmering flats thing always bothered me too. I’d love to be able to race against a Hordie/Allie and beat them that way too. I could never fathom though why they didn’t at least add a way to bet on it. It didn’t make any sense.. They put all that effort into making races that ran and then didn’t let you do anything with it. I could program that (bet system) in my sleep , even chrono trigger has this in a simplistic race as the beginning. I’ll just chalk this one up to Blizzard being lazy again I guess but its too bad. I enjoyed the flight platform game from the darkmoon fair a lot I don’t see why a small go-kart race would be so hard.

  2. Swift Voyager on

    Eve Online is supposed to be offering some form of gambling mini-games for people who are docked in space stations when they release the “Ambulation” expansion later this year. The dev blogs I’ve seen said that players will be able to play traditional card games in public spaces and that other players will be able to watch from nearby as spectators.

  3. Aaron on

    I like designs that take gambling beyond money and into a general playstyle. Some predictability is good, but these games would have far more replayability and be less linear if enemy types, enemy locations, rewards, and a lot of other things varied more. Not necessarily random, but greater emphasis on chance.

  4. Tipa on

    Gambling over the Internet is illegal, isn’t it? Given that you can buy and sell WoW gold for real world cash, I think that would be a legit concern.

  5. kanthalos on

    Yeah, in the US and most other countries, internet gambling is illegal, but if you aren’t actually gambling with real-world cash, then I think this is a different story, and is left up to the developers to decide. Are you saying that people will buy gold from sellers to keep gambling? I had intended to include in the article that there should be a limit to how much you can gamble each day, I just forgot. I think something around 75-100g per day per account would be reasonable as you can make more than that doing dailies. This limit could be tailored to other games as well, which would make gambling fun, not something to be taken very seriously. Does that sound more reasonable?

  6. Swift Voyager on

    I can play Texas Hold-em on my cell phone against real people over the internet. It’s not illegal to play card games for fake money.

    If you place limits on the amounts, then people will make unofficial side bets and circumvent your limits. If you give them the mini-game interface to play games of chance, then there will be gambling and you won’t be able to limit the amounts.

    What’s wrong with someone gambling away all their play money anyway? It seems like a non-issue to me.

  7. resmhes on

    Hi, this is about gambling in every era of the history. Adding a new chapter, the internet has been a trend setter in the art of gambling and turned the traditional method of gambling into a more appealing and easier


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