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A Tale of Two Worlds: New US Gambling Laws and the MMORPG

Gaming Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 436-439, 2007

Posted: 18 May 2007  

Mark Methenitis

The Vernon Law Group, PLLC; Law of the Game


The hastily drafted Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) took many steps toward doing away with internet gambling altogether. However, many ambiguities remained in the text of the Act. One major ambiguity that has yet to be addressed is how the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or MMORPG, fits into the Act, as the dynamics of these games blur the lines drawn between unlawful internet gambling and simple online gaming.

This paper attempts to explain the most likely trouble areas MMORPGs will encounter based on the Act, and briefly discusses the regulatory alternatives. The analysis follows the models of two popular MMO games, World of Warcraft and Second Life, and analyzes them under the new regulation. After this analysis, an alternative regulatory structure is proposed which would more adequately address these MMO games in particular.

Keywords: MMORPG, MMO, gaming, gambling, video game, internet, regulation, tax, World of Warcraft, Second Life, Lineage, Everquest, Ultima Online, American culture, cyberproperty, cyberlaw, property, law and economics, online gambling, online gaming, virtual economy

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K34, K39, L83, D63, F15, H11, H20

Suggested Citation

Methenitis, Mark, A Tale of Two Worlds: New US Gambling Laws and the MMORPG. Gaming Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 436-439, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Mark Methenitis (Contact Author)

The Vernon Law Group, PLLC ( email )

12770 Coit Road
Suite 850
Dallas, TX Texas 75251
United States
214-273-3717 (Phone)
214-299-8596 (Fax)


Law of the Game ( email )

Dallas, TX Texas
United States


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