In a new DevBlog released on Oct 12, CCP Falcon has revealed a slew of changes to the End User License Agreement, or EULA, of EVE Online. The new EULA will take effect on Tuesday, November 8 with the release of the next expansion for EVE Online, Ascension. While part of the impetus for changing the EULA comes from the need to tweak things for the new Free to Play (F2P) model, the most noteworthy of the changes has a very different intent: Shutting down EVE-related casinos. The change appears to be motivated by large-scale RMT at IWantISK, and the systemic abuses that have plagued EVE-related casinos for some time.
The changes come in the ‘CONDUCT’ sections of the EULA, and include specific language to make it a violation to “use, transfer or assign any game assets for games of chance operated by third parties.” This effectively makes it impossible to run any online casino for ISK or other in-game assets. The prohibition against games operated by third parties, and not simply hosted by them, would make it a EULA violation even if the game is somehow being run and adjudicated entirely within the client itself.
In addition to these changes, CCP Falcon’s devblog reveals that while most 3rd-party gambling services will be given until November 8 to wind down operations, two have been shut down. EVE Casino has been shut down ‘after multiple and sustained breaches of our Developer License Agreement’, and IWantISK has been shut down “after extensive and exhaustive investigation has brought forward compelling evidence of large-scale Real Money Trading.” In both cases, all ISK and assets have been confiscated, and permanent account bans have been issued. No reimbursements will be made toward users of either of those services who still had an outstanding balance.
The reasoning behind these changes seems clear. There has been a consistent, visible, systemic abuse of the casino model since its development. The ‘big players’ in the market, Somer Blink and IWI, have repeatedly demonstrated that the corruption the casino industry is famous for has not passed the EVE Online gambling market by. Rather than continue to deal with new services growing larger and falling prey to this corrosive influence, CCP has simply shut that avenue down.
Most of the sites that will be affected by the EULA changes appear to have had no advance notice of the planned changes. Niraia, of EVE Online Hold ’em offered the following statement on the devblog’s reddit thread:
“Hi, eohpoker.com owner here.
We’re online until the 7th, I guess. CCP haven’t said anything to us, but I guess we aren’t very popular now, so maybe they forgot 🙂
I’ll maybe post some more thoughts on the website in the near future. Suffice to say, it’s disappointing that the greed and reckless irresponsibility of others has resulted in the end of honest gambling services in EVE Online.
Extra love to EVE-Bet and BIG, you’ve always been respected competitors here, and we always appreciated your integrity.
I’d like to thank all of our players, and especially our staff, for making EOH awesome for nearly 10 years.”
Others, however, including those directly affected, may have had some advance notice, or simply guessed that the hammer was about to fall. Noted IWI bankers Lenny Kravitz2 and 1ron Bank both cashed out their IWI shares roughly two weeks ago, within 24h of one another. Both have since attempted to focus on other projects, Lenny on his planned ‘trade network’ and 1ronbank on EVE Casino.
In one notable caveat, CCP has stated that:
“Given that the Alliance Tournament is currently ongoing, we are aware that some players may have outstanding wagers on alliances who are competing with other third party services who have not been subject to account action and/or ISK and asset confiscation. These third party services are free to finalize these wagers over the course of the weekend given that they have not broken our rules, but must wind down operations in an orderly fashion before 11:00 UTC on Tuesday November 8th, 2016.”
This would indicate that even those sites running betting during the Alliance Tournament must cease operations by the release of Ascension. As the AT will have ended weeks ahead of that mark, this gives those individuals who have currently placed AT bets a clear window of when they can expect those wagers to be honored.
So far, community reaction has been mixed, with most of the respondents on the official EVE Online comment thread seeming very supportive of the changes. Reaction on reddit has also be largely positive, with a fair amount of schadenfreude mixed in, with some notable exceptions.
As the ripples reverberate through the game, many entities throughout the game may have been affected. In addition to reports that some prominent alliance leaders and FCs may have individually had hundreds of billions of ISK confiscated, a number of other organizations either benefitted from the casino revenue model, or actively partnered with casinos (including IWI) to finance their operations.
According to a comment left by Tiberius Stargazer:
“So this is probably gonna get drowned out in the sea of comments spam on this post, but I for one, am personally devistated by this. Myself, and my colleagues in the ‘EVE Media’ have along with streamers, writers from EN24, CZ, EVE_NT, podcasters, competition organisers (Pod and Planet, Theomachy for example), NPSI groups, and many many more independent community based organisation are all funded in part or in whole by these organisations and have been so for years. This change to the EULA effectively cuts off this revenue stream that was invested back into countless projects which will feel the ultimate brunt of these changes. I think the eve community will be worse off without these organisations.”
While this change does not affect us here at TMC/Imperium News, we understand the difficulties in keeping streaming, podcast, and media sites up and running. We offer our sincere hopes that our colleagues across the EVE Media spectrum are able to weather this setback and continue to provide the level of quality coverage the community has come to expect.