Re: Australia hilarity

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Wed, 30 Jun 1999 17:14:40 -0500

Yeah, I've also been thinking about Internet gambling. I see an opportunity here to break all the casinos, small-time operations with loan sharks, and government lotteries - all the real exploiters - plus provide a safe outlet for gambling addicts.

Run a zero-sum game and make money off of advertising. Let people bet in lotteries on a community basis, say - like, say, the Los Angelos Urban Poor Lottery - so that (1) nobody is making money off them and (2) they know the money is going to people like them. Actually, when you consider the positive effect a few rich individuals can have on a community - venture capital, loans, political influence, media interfaces - playing a lottery like that might even be rational. I bet you could grab the entire lottery market that way. Less attraction for zero-sum roulette and zero-sum horse racing, but there are a lot of gamblers looking for an edge.

And, since the company would not care how much you actually bet (as long as you played), they could try to steer gambling addicts, or people who can't afford losses, into using "virtual money". With the advertising sold, it should still be possible to give out, say, a new refrigerator, in exchange for a million dollars of virtual money. You could also allow automatic "caps" that couldn't be removed for at least a month. Or you could have "multiplied money" where one cent equals a hundred dollars, allowing fractional betting.

I'm tossing out this idea for free because I'm worried about the traditional gambling agencies, the ones with links to organized crime, becoming displeased and expressing this displeasure via assassins and media campaign. It can still be done, as long as you're willing to hole up somewhere and spend a lot of time fighting, but I won't have the time and my lifeplan gives me a high enough probability of being assassinated already. If anybody makes a billion dollars off this, though, I may ask you to fund a research project at some point.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians Heading for Singularity There Is A Better Way