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Australia Pushes Age Classification for Gambling Games and Loot Boxes

Loot boxes are a part of many popular modern video games. The feature offers an activity that is similar to a game of chance where players can open, unlock or break a loot box and receive a random prize. Australia is the latest country to implement changes related to loot boxes as a part of important regulations that are set to come into effect next September.

Michelle Rowland , Australia’s Minister for Communications, revealed that the Albanese government remains committed to reducing gambling harm and this includes restricting access to games with gambling-like elements by children . She confirmed that a proposal calling for a mandatory minimum classification for gambling-like content as a part of video games was recently greenlighted.

As a part of the changes, which are going to come into effect as of September 2024 , games that contain simulated gambling , including social casino games, would receive an R18+ restricted classification . This classification means that users under the age of 18 would not be able to legally access such content. Moreover, the R18+ classification means that such products are not suitable for children .

In addition, the changes will implement an M-mature advisory classification for games that have payable features such as loot boxes and other in-game purchases . While the measure is advisory and not restrictive, it means that legal guardians and parents would be able to know that such products are associated with risks they need to consider before letting their children play. While the change will come into effect next September, it would not apply retrospectively .

Changes Seek to Protect Children from Gambling Harm and Addiction

According to Rowland, the changes to video game classification come after a three-week public consultation that was completed earlier this year. In May 2020, the Neville Stevens Review recommended such classification to the former government in Australia. Now, Rowland said, the Albanese government is taking appropriate action , following the recommendation in an effort to protect children from harms related to gambling-like content.

“ We know there is a growing community concern about children being exposed to gambling-like features in games. “
Michelle Rowland, Minister for Communications in Australia

The Minister for Communications acknowledged that video games expose children to features similar to gambling, which raises concerns about harm and addiction . A link between games with gambling-like features and problem gambling and other forms of harm was found in research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies . According to Rowland, the changes seek to help Australians make informed decisions about the content that is suitable for their children.

Australia isn’t the only country to impose regulations for loot boxes . This summer, the government in the UK urged the gaming sector to implement strict guidelines in order to protect the players. Overall, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published and developed 11 different principles related to loot boxes. always shares this Contents with License.

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