Initially, Rigel II remained largely officially independent and neutral. It lacked any kind of government bar the great palace-casinos, which were home to most of the political and economic activity on the world, and had a strong oligopoly over the surrounding settlements. There was little regulation. Civilization there was generally lazy, decadent and hedonistic. However, several colonies on Rigel II were members of the United Rigel Colonies and members of the United Federation of Planets.
Various entrepreneurs made good use of Rigel II's neutral status and resort facilities to host diplomatic summits and meetings, making it a hub for interstellar affairs. With the diplomats came spies, arms merchants and other war-profiteers.
Rigel II became a popular R&R spot for Starfleet personnel and was famed for its cabarets.
Rigel II was struck by the deadly Rigellian plague, which decimated the population of a quarter of the planet.
The largest city on Rigel II was Sandapam, which had a population of approximately 2 million, and an average 2 million more in tourists, travelers, and others. Anything was legal here, provided only that it was consensual and did not cause physical harm, while anything else could be simulated in its holosuites. Sandapam also had the most advanced transporter and spaceport facilities on the world, and was the central off-world export point of Rigel II's plant products. It also headquartered the planet's small defensive fleet, mostly of Orion privateers.
Leonard McCoy of the Federation starship USS Enterprise once met a pair of scantily clad women in a cabaret chorus line on Rigel II.