Australian parliament proposes ratings changes to games with lootboxes and ‘simulated gambling’


It appears that the Australian parliament is looking to make some moves against games with lockboxes, or at the very least a half-measure: The Australian government has put forth a proposal to change game classifications for certain titles, suggesting that games with lootboxes receive an M rating and games with “simulated gambling” receive an R rating.

Our favorite Aussie tipster provides some additional context on just what these ratings mean: An M rating is recommended for children ages 15 and up, but otherwise isn’t legally enforced, much like the M for Mature label is for games here in the US. The R label is far more restrictive, requiring buyers to be 18 and up similar to the Adults Only rating for games here.

Readers might remember that these changes fall short of parliamentary suggestions in 2020 that required age checks for lootbox purchases and new standards for online age verification; we also saw a bill floated by Australian lawmaker Andrew Wilkie last year to give games with lootboxes an R rating. In fact, Wilkie put out a scathing response to the proposal in which he claims the Australian parliament is failing to stop children gambling.

Further muddying the waters is defining what constitutes “simulated gambling.” Mobile “social casino” apps like those that were highighted in one local news story may fall within those parameters, but it’s unclear whether other in-game gambling minigames would run afoul of the classification flag.

It’s important to note that these are proposed changes for the country and not final, so many things could change in the interim, which is a long way of saying that this is still a developing story.

sources: Australian Minister for Communications, Andrew Wilkie MP site, YouTube, thanks to Jack Pipsam for the tip!
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