The Economy of New Eden Without Gambling

I don’t know the answer, but I want to ask the question; what happens to the economy now?

Gambling… at least third party gambling,.. will be leaving EVE Online come the Ascension expansion on November 8, 2016.  As I have said elsewhere, you can find the best telling of this tale over at The Nosy Gamer.

As you might have guessed by my own reaction to that announcement, the departure of gambling is fine by me.  I am not a fan of it in either real or virtual life.  Having a casino like IWI start throwing the weight of its ISK around in New Eden to broaden its power did nothing to warm me to gambling.

However, gambling sites have been part of the environment for a while now.  We know that their departure will have some minor impact on EVE Online related things outside of the game… streamers will no longer get an ISK stipend to advertise for casinos and sites like EN24 will have to find new advertisers (which they did almost immediately once Bobmon, the casino candidate on the CSM, stopped crying wolf)… but what about the New Eden economy?

The thing is, gambling does not create money.  It isn’t an ISK faucet.  If you look at CCP Quant’s monthly economic charts, there isn’t a line item for “gambling.”  Gambling in New Eden just serves as a conduit that moved ISK from the wallets of gamblers to the wallets of the various casinos, because in the long term, the house always wins.

And some of those casino wallets have been drained as the CCP security team confiscated RMT tainted ISK.

So this will actually end up with there being less ISK in the New Eden economy.  And while that ISK is measured in the trillions, it was idle in banker’s wallets so its absence probably won’t influence the market in Jita.  Certainly, some individuals whose wallets were found to be stuffed with dirty money were feeling the pinch once CCP removed that ISK, but that hit a very tiny slice of New Eden.  The average capsuleer should hardly notice the difference.

But then there is PLEX, which in its way made this whole casino business viable.

Current prices are around 800 million ISK in Jita

Current prices are around 1.2 billion ISK in Jita

I have heard on a number of occasions that some of the gamblers using the EVE Online casinos are just that; gamblers.  Which is to say, they were not EVE Online players.  Instead, they created EVE Online accounts, bought PLEX, sold it for ISK, and used the ISK in the casinos.

I do not doubt that this has actually happened, that somebody has bought PLEX just to gamble.  The only question in my mind is how prevalent this sort of things really is.  If this sort of thing was only a tiny minority of the people who used the EVE Online gambling sites, then the impact of the passing of gambling probably won’t hit the price of PLEX.

If those gambling for ISK were a significant factor in these casinos, if people were not simply tossing away their ratting and mining ISK but were buying PLEX to support their gambling habit, the end of the casinos could user in another spike in the price of PLEX. (And things with prices that are effectively pegged to the value of PLEX.)

Of course, as noted up at the top, the gambling sites officially go away with the launch of the Ascension expansion on November 8th.  That expansion introduces Alpha Clones, which will allow people to play EVE Online without a subscription fee.  This is CCP’s free to play move.

Should this see the initial success that such free to play gambits generally achieve… lots of people should come give the game a try, or come back to take a look… is CCP counting on them to take up the slack in PLEX purchases?  Is this why CCP waited until last week… just four weeks before the launch of the expansion… to move against IWI and ban people who, in some cases, they had banned earlier this year?

In a game where the economy is absolutely essential, where nobody can avoid it, I imagine CCP is trying to tread carefully.  But I still wonder where this will lead.

Meanwhile, as The Mittani and DBRB were smugging so hard I am surprised they didn’t injure themselves, I Want ISK has been vacillating between telling people that IWI 2.0 was never meant for New Eden and how they are removing lines of code that were part of the IWI 2.0 connection to EVE Online.  It sounds like they have decided to become a straight-up online casino.  I am sure that will end well.  And, finally, over at The Nosy Gamer there is a further look at the legal aspects of all of this and why CCP may have chosen to act.

Addendum:

Stabs takes a stab at what happens to the economy when gambling goes away.

13 thoughts on “The Economy of New Eden Without Gambling

  1. Scott Turnbull (@Streamweaver)

    I think this is a good move overall but, as you seem to be saying here, can’t imagine how this is going to effect the complex fabric that is Eve’s economy. Like a lot of things, I imagine it will be disruptive at first and eventually reach a new equilibrium.

    CCP has painted itself into a corner with how they’ve grown the game and the player base. Instead of focusing on a balanced economy, they patch the lack of availability of much of it with PLEX sales and gambling. PLEX is even more complex because it’s really about driving multiple subscriptions for to fund CCP. So they’re in a situation where losing a few subscribers mean losing multiple accounts, there’s an amplification effect. However the situation they setup to keep those multiple subscriptions has largely walled off the game either because people don’t feel there’s a point to trying to enter now, or because they feel the community isn’t one they want to be involved with.

    Banning gambling is a great step but I think most of the players who think so have already left the game or never entered it in the first place. This is likely to do little to draw in or retrain players and may do more to drive out existing players who like it, and likely maintain multiple accounts.

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  2. Easy Esky

    As for being smug? Whilst there pounding in the RMT drum, also there was a tattoo on the hi-hat of the legal age limit of gambling and the beating the cymbol over external forces having influence over the game. When you hit the mark, it helps if you do not miss with a bunch of others. They are welcome to be smug when the North is retaken. So far we have not heard anything about it being handed back.

    I do welcome the removal of gambling. Eve did perfectly fine before the likes of Somer and IWI. EN24 and CZ operated before gambling slushfunds.

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  3. Anonymous

    “The Mittani and DBRB were smugging so hard I am surprised they didn’t injure themselves, ”

    They only managed to slander everyone who wrote for CZ, EN24, the owners of those sites and anyone who took legitimate ISK from legitimate gambling sites.

    Possibly an record, but who knows?

    Anyway, to your greater question:

    What the gambling sites did, was provide an increase to the ‘ISK velocity’ metric. If a site receives 100 million ISK, they might return 80 million as prizes, of which some will go back into the site, and some will go into the market. Now that that’s been removed (before the Eula was changed), I expect a .1 drop, but we’ll see. Certainly a reduction of some sort.

    The most interesting (to those who like numbers but not meaning) statistic will be the “Active ISK” metric. If there’s a lot of ISK removed from the game, and though it’s unclear, I expect ~15 trillion at least, then that’s a small fraction of total ISK and total assets. What’ll be more interesting is the loss of ‘limited edition’ ships. Immense wealth allows for many impressive hangar queens, and maybe there’ll be a total loss of a Fed State Issue Megathron or the like.

    Finally, I doubt that “Gamblers” were in any way a big part of PLEX market supply. The number of PLEX bought and sold is very high, and unless the gamblers were immensely wealthy or numerous, they won’t have had that much influence.

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  4. Dinsdale Pirannha

    So, good news for the cartels, especially goons. They are now the pre-eminent RMT groups. Again. Whether goons make a move in the next few months to move back to the prime ratting zones remains to be seen. But they, as well as the russians, PL, et al, know that CCP will be once again ignoring their activities because they are “content creators”, whatever the hell that term means.

    As for plex prices, there may be a hiccup, but they will continue to climb. The Chinese server is the business model for the cartels, and plex prices are 2 or 3 times the price on the Chinese server that they are on TQ presently.

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  5. Gevlon

    Please stop being naive/obtuse. There wasn’t much gambling on those sites. Sure, I don’t question that Joe Idiot threw 50M on tickets or Jane Addict even paid real money to buy a PLEX for gambling. But they wouldn’t make this worthwhile to Eep, Ironbank and Lenny.

    The “casinos” were RMT sales houses. The botters “lost” dozens of billions on gamble and received $1-2 for every billion “lost”, while the “winners” had to pay $4-6 for every “battery”. While I don’t question the existence of the penny guys, every big winner is an RMT buyer and every big loser is an RMT seller.

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  6. SynCaine

    The above is next level tin-foil, even for the CCP-appointed king of batshit crazy. You might have only accomplished one thing in EVE Gevlon, but you are at least good at.

    As for the non-lunatic portion of this discussion, I still believe removing an activity a lot of people generally enjoy (gambling) is bad for EVE. Banning for RMT should always happen, as it has in the past and will continue in the future, but all of this anti-gambling paranoia going around isn’t good for gaming overall.

    (Also lets not pretend Goons celebrating this is anything but taking a late win in what was ultimately a loss. Goons aren’t against outside forces influencing the game, otherwise Mittens wouldn’t have started up the Bezobucks thing. Spin and the narrative are very important factors in EVE as most of us know, but this ‘gloat while you collect bezos’ isn’t a good look IMO.)

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – Have you ever been to Las Vegas? I recommend it, at least once. It is a monument, a city of light and noise built in the middle of a desert where it has no business being. And gambling made it all possible. Gambling is like a weed, it thrives and grows where ever it is not actively rooted out.

    So when somebody says they are running a casino and making a ton of currency, real or virtual, I am inclined to believe them as that reflects my real world experience.

    But now you are trying to tell me that the casino aspect was just a front, a diversion, and that IWI (and presumably others) were just botting in game? That seems far fetched. You don’t need a casino in that case. Why would you? You cannot launder the money, CCP already knows where it came from. What you describe sounds ridiculously complex for no benefit.

    You have to come up with more detail on your allegations here, as this is bordering on “casinos can’t melt steel beams” sort of talk.

    @SynCaine – The Reddit rules of the road are that you can say anything you want about The Mittani, Sion, or Goons, and that is okay, but if they say anything negative they are horrible people.

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  8. Gevlon

    I didn’t say Eep was botting. Other people botted and “gambled” it away, “lost” it and received real money. Then buyers came and “win”. The front was needed to obfuscate the transaction and to let buyers and sellers meet with a trusted third party (the bankers).

    I know that gambling happens. But why would anyone gamble in EVE when he can gamble on real casinos where you can win money and also in fake casinos where you just gamble with pretend money (Slotomania is one of the top Facebook games. Why would anyone insert EVE into the equation.

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  9. SynCaine

    It’s almost like Gevlon doesn’t know about EVE Hold Em. Or DOES know about it and ALSO knows its a very long-running RMT operation as well, using his impeccable logic above!

    Keep trying to figure this out though, you’ll get it eventually, and then you can go back and edit these comments to show… oh wait.

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  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – Hahaha indeed, because no, that article isn’t anything like what you wrote above.

    Your theory, which everybody can read above, says that there wasn’t much gambling, that it was botters using casinos to launder ISK to sell. This line is straight from you, “There wasn’t much gambling on those sites.”

    The article says that IWI casino bankers were able to hide their RMT because the large amount of gambling activity made it easy to hide an RMT payout amongst all the legit gambling payouts. No mention of botters, direct implication that there was lots of actual gambling going on.

    Those do not sound like the same theory at all. But please, don’t let me stop you from explaining that everything The Imperium said is what you meant to say, but somehow didn’t.

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