Australia Considers Mature Rating for Video Games with Gambling Elements



Benard Maumo

Australia has been considering several actions to protect vulnerable people, like problem gamblers and children. The government has been on a mission to block offshore betting sites, with a ban on payments via credit cards being discussed.  

Australia Considers Mature Rating for Video Games with Gambling Elements

The latest effort by the Australian federal government is a proposal to give video games featuring simulated gambling an R18+ rating. The proposal also requires all paid loot box games to have a minimum "mature" M-rating. 

This is in response to the increased worries that some video games could introduce children to gambling elements, as there appears to be a connection between simulated gambling and real money gambling.

During the announcement, Australia's Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the idea is to inform parents of the simulated gambling in the games their children buy. She said the government would ensure everybody knows the harms simulated gambling presents. 

According to Rowland, the changes could mean those under 18 would be barred from buying games containing simulated gambling. The minister expressed the need to make the policy clear and straightforward so that customers and the industry can know what to expect. 

"We want to be very clear and very binary in this regard, and the certainty that is provided by a proposal that says if there is simulated gambling in a game, then it is subject to a particular rating," Rowland said. 

Seeking Even Tighter Restrictions

In the meantime, lawmakers Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie, and Andrew Wallace advocate for stricter rules on video games containing loot boxes. Wilkie said that classifying games with loot boxes as “M” means children aged between 15 and 18 will still be exposed to simulated gambling. The lawmaker thinks this will make M-rated gaming products accessible to minors under 15.

Rowland cited a study that indicated a connection between problem gambling, loot boxes, and simulated gambling. As far as any potential amendments to the suggested classification system alterations, determinations will be made after consulting with states, the general public, and industry stakeholders.

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