..

The Conversation

  • Written by Joshua Krook, Doctoral Candidate in Law, University of Adelaide
There are no age restrictions for gambling in video games, despite potential risks to children

According to a 2018 report by Digital Australia, 97% of Australian households with children have at least one device for playing video games. More than 60% of households have five or more devices.

Since the early 2000s, the boom in mobile technology has seen the spread of video games from desktop PCs to the pockets of young people everywhere. But with that spread has come new hazards, in the form of online social gambling.

Read more: 'Loot boxes' and pay-to-win features in digital games look a lot like gambling

Gambling games are mostly rated ‘PG’ or ‘G’

Gambling via mobile devices or mobile games has remained largely unregulated in Australia. In a 2012 study of more than 100 video games featuring gambling simulations, 69 of them were rated PG (8+) and 33 of them were rated G (for a general audience) by the Australian regulator.

In other words, no gambling games received any age restrictions.

The Australian Classification Board, the body charged with rating games, consistently underrates games that feature gambling, despite the potential risk they pose to children.

Part of the explanation comes down to the way games are classified. In Australia, video games classifications are based on six criteria: themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity.

Read more: Social casino games can help – or harm – problem gamblers

Gambling comes under the first broad category of “themes” and is generally classified according to the presence of gambling, gambling references or gambling themes.

Game developers use the classification system to their advantage by skirting the edges of what is considered an acceptable “presence of gambling”. Gambling video games tend to fall into three broad categories in this regard: actual online casinos, social gambling games (which can use real money, but can also be played for free) and games that use gambling techniques.

The latter type, including games such as Candy Crush, use techniques similar to a slot machine, but do not actually look like a casino. The other types often explicitly look like a casino. Regardless, they still receive a G rating.

Risks for children

When children and teenagers play simulated gambling games (featuring either real money or fake money), they are more likely to grow up and gamble with real money. One study found that almost 30% of adolescents who played simulated poker went on to play real poker with real money later in life.

Some companies claim that games can have gambling techniques, with no risk to children, so long as there is no real money involved. However, even if gambling games are ostensibly “free” to play, they pose a risk to young people by making them more susceptible to gambling mechanics, psychological tricks and addiction.

To put it simply, when a young person reaches age 18 and finally enters a casino having previously played social gambling games, they will be more susceptible to real gambling and psychological addiction, because they will be primed for it.

Gaming classifications are out of step

The low classification of gambling games in Australia is out of line with the broader laws on gambling.

In all states, there are strict laws on who can enter a casino and who can gamble, with every state imposing age restrictions roughly correlating with adulthood. If these general laws were imposed on gambling games, they would receive a classification of R (18+) – the highest possible rating – rather than G (for a general audience).

Since 2013, Australia has had an R (18+) category for games. At the time of its introduction, it was argued that the adult rating would empower the classification agency, and stop kids from having access to games that could potentially harm them. It would appear that that has not occurred with regards to gambling games.

Despite recent statements by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation that some video game mechanics can “constitute gambling”, not much has changed regarding the law in Victoria or any other state. Victorian officials state that they can do very little when a gaming company or product is based overseas.

However, it is unclear why the regulator, the Australian Classification Board, cannot put higher ratings on gambling games sold in Australia, in Australian stores or on Australian websites.

The benefits of gaming

Video games do not have to be addictive or feature gambling mechanics to be fun or to make money. Many of the most successful video games today feature no gambling mechanics at all. Some are actually good for you because they help develop creativity, keep an active brain or teach new skills.

Read more: The business of addiction: how the video gaming industry is evolving to be like the casino industry

The rise of gamification, or the use of games for serious purposes, has led to a variety of games that assist educators, the government and private companies in creating interactive learning experiences.

It is unfortunate that some video gaming companies continue to develop gambling and anti-social video games, when the power of video games as a positive medium for change is just starting to develop.

Without further action by the regulator, it is up to the states to determine whether online gambling video games should remain out of line with the general laws concerning gambling and age restrictions in Australia.

Authors: Joshua Krook, Doctoral Candidate in Law, University of Adelaide

Read more http://theconversation.com/there-are-no-age-restrictions-for-gambling-in-video-games-despite-potential-risks-to-children-96115

Politics

George Neophytou supports roads funding and more

Independent candidate for Gippsland East George Neophytou has pledged to support completion of duplication of the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale and to upgrading of the Sale alternative ...

Scott Morrison interview with Alan Jones

Belt and Road Initiative; Law and order in Victoria; Queensland infrastructure; Power prices; Paris Agreement; Immigration; Negative gearing.   ALAN JONES: Prime Minister, good morning.   PRIME ...

George Neophytou a real force to stop the Fingerboards Mine

George Neophytou a solicitor contesting the election as an Independent Candidate has been an activist against the Fingerboards Mineral Sands Mine for over two years. His track record shows ability a...

Business News

Hussh

Hussh . . . The Secret is Out Your exclusive invitation to 9 massive warehouse sales this week The secret to huge savings is shopping directly from the warehouses of Australia’s biggest wholesa...

Web Wisdom - Simple Ways to Increase Sales as an e-Commerce Website

The online marketplace is a virtual paradise for consumers who love a bargain. Today’s e-commerce has become so evolved that consumers not only have purchasing power, but they also can influence maj...

Digital marketing agencies are fudging the numbers and distorting the outcomes for their clients

Many digital marketing agencies manipulate reports to make themselves look good, offering vanity stats that really provide no benefit to their clients. One of the most common mistakes companies make...

Travel

Pet-Friendly Summer Destinations in NZ

No one wants to leave their pet at home and why should you have to? When it comes to traveling around in a campervan hire New Zealand, you may not want to live your precious animal back home. You shou...

DriveMyCar

DON’T GET SLUGGED WITH THE SIX-HUNDRED-DOLLAR CHRISTMAS TAX Revealed: traditional car rental companies charging 3.3 times more to rent a vehicle over Christmas A comparison of rental costs per day...

Looking for a Romantic Destination? Here’s Why the Philippines May Be Perfect for You

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/couple-man-woman-girl-guy-love-2585328/Perhaps, you want a spot to celebrate your honeymoon after several months of wedding planning. Or, maybe you are just loo...