Experts Claim Australian Children Get Unrestricted Access to Gambling in Video Games


A recent report released by Digital Australia, almost all Australian households with children (97%) own at least one video games device. More than half of the households (above 60%) own five or more devices for playing video games.

Almost twenty years have passed since the boom in digital technology, which has spread from regular desktop PCs to portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, reaching more and more young people by the hour. The social networks, on the other hand, have made online social gambling easier to access.

For the time being, using mobile devices to access gambling services online has remained not well regulated on the territory of Australia. A few years ago, in 2012, a study which included more than 100 video games featuring gambling simulations put the majority of them (69) under a PG rating, which classifies them as appropriate for individuals aged 8 and above. The Australian regulatory body rated G a total of 33 of the games, meaning they were appropriate for general audience. The classification basically means that at the time of the study no gambling offering received any age restrictions.

According to experts, the potential risks which such games pose to young individuals and more vulnerable people have been consistently neglected by the Australian Classification Board. Currently, there a total of six criteria are taken into consideration when making video games classification, with gambling themes and references being included in one of these criteria. Unfortunately, knowing the classification system makes game developers to more easily make the presence of gambling more acceptable to regulators, which is why such games often receive a G rating.

Current Games Classification Should Be Changed

Some gambling analysts and problem gambling experts have warned that gambling options featuring either fake or real money make young individuals more likely to grow up as gambling addicts.

A number of gambling providers has opposed these claims, saying that games can feature gambling techniques which do not pose any risk to children and young individuals, as long as players are not offered real money to play with. However, experts have insisted that gambling options pose great risk to young people by making them more susceptible to gambling, gambling-related harm, hence gambling addiction.

According to such analysts, the current classification of online and video games in Australia contradicts to the broader laws related to gambling. The truth is that all states across the country have rolled out strict gambling legislation providing clarity on the matter who is allowed to gamble. In addition, every state imposes certain age restrictions on gambling. Experts claim that in case that these general laws are taken into account at the time when making video games and online games classification, such games would get a R rating, meaning they are appropriate only for people aged 18 and above.

The R (18+) category has been for games classification in Australia since 2013.

Recently, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has released a number of statements, according to which some mechanisms used in video games could constitute gambling. Despite these claims, local regulatory bodies have not done much about that in regards to gambling legislation in Victoria or any other sate across the country.

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