Group Claims Gambling Elements Should Impact Video Game Ratings

Video Games and Gambling

Should gambling be a category of consideration of how children’s games are classified? The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology says yes. They believe that games that include elements that mimic gambling should be considered when considering age appropriateness of some games.

This may seem a bit asinine to some. However, this may actually be a legitimate concern based on the mental development stages of children.

Gambling A Category to Consider When Classifying Child Games

According to various reports, the Australia Institue’s Centre for Responsible Technology has called for game classifications to consider gambling elements when classifying children’s games. The CRT argues that video games are programing children to become problem gamblers in the future.

CRT Director Peter Lewis states, “We protect children from gambling in the real world, but online they have access to a global casino, where they are being played. The risk for children is not just normalising gambling, it is exposing them to a virtual world where the business model is to trap them in a cycle of dependence. The addictive gambling design is prevalent in popular online games like Overwatch and Call of Duty which encourage in-game purchase with real and earned currency.”

Pirate Kings Prize Wheel - Gambling

Games like Pirate Kings include elements that mimic gambling.

The CRT further calls for the current system used to classify games. They should be updated to include guidelines on ways that in-game architecture impacts a game’s classification. They also recommend a rating of R18+ for games that include elements that can simulate the psychological elements of real-world gambling. This includes games that use random loot boxes, prizes wheels, and other gambling-like elements.

The CRT also recommends that games that feature real-world gambling branding or other cross-promotions receive a rating of R18+. According to Lewis, The current classifications system is locked in a world where children went to movies, watched television and played computer games in the lounge room. As their digital life becomes more individualised and the design of online games more sophisticated, we need to take our duty of care seriously and develop enforceable standards that keep our children safe.”

CRT Has a Valid Point This Time

As advocates of online casinos, we normally dismiss organizations that present outrageous claims regarding the impact of gambling. However, this time around we have to give some support to some of these suggestions by the CRT.

Young children, especially those in the 9 to 13 age range, are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and outside influence. Video games can have a huge impact on youth. We have all seen evidence in the past of youth trying to mimic the games they play.

When a child is constantly playing games that feature casino-like elements, the act of gambling may be normalized. Their brains may become accustomed to the rush achieved by winning these games. Think about your child and how often they play their mobile devices. Can you really say that a child that plays gambling-like cannot be negatively influenced?

Online gambling is only legal for those of legal age, meaning 18 or older. As such, it is important that we restrict these elements in games for children. Let them develop as normal. Once they are 18, they should have a better ability to make smart choices regarding online casino wagering. Just as we would not recommend that teenagers gamble at online casinos in Australia, we cannot recommend that video games include gambling elements.

For parents, we urge you to check out the report entitled Gambling on Games released by the CRT to see the arguments and the types of recommendations made. Regardless of the outcome of this recommendation, you can take personal steps when monitoring your child’s gaming. This will help limit their exposure to gambling-like elements in popular mobile and computer video games.