Crackdown: Sweeping changes for gambling in video games

Video games which offer simulated gambling will be branded adults-only under big changes to the industry announced by the Albanese government.

After a meeting of the Standing Council of Attorneys-General on Friday, all states agreed to reforms which will see new age restrictions placed on games which offer gambling-like content.

The states agreed to updated guidelines, which will come into effect in September next year, giving the industry time to adjust.

Under the changes, computer games which simulate gambling, such as virtual casinos, will receive an adults-only R18+ classification.

Games which offer in-game purchases which involve elements of chance, such as paid loot boxes, will be classified as M and not recommended for children under 15.

The government said it was responding to potential harm caused by children being exposed to gambling-like content in video games.

It pointed to research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which found young people who were exposed to simulated gambling in video games were 40 per cent more likely to gamble later in life.

“The Albanese Government is determined to protect vulnerable Australians from gambling harms — including children who may be exposed to gambling through video games,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said.

“Research shows that children exposed to gambling-like content may be more vulnerable to gambling harm later in life – and we are determined to intervene early to keep children safe.”

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