For once, a games developer is being punished for not being realistic enough, as South Australian senator Nick Xenophon sets his sights on a Queensland company which makes iPhone gambling applications.
Pokie Magic designs iPhone applications based on poker machines like the ones you’d find in pubs and clubs around the country. The games – which are available for children to download for free – include free spin features, 20 lines and double-up options, just like their real-life counterparts. They’ve been made available by US-based casual publisher Big Fish Games, with a recommendation that they are played (and purchased) by gamers over 12 years of age.
Xenophon explains the problem is that kids are being “conditioned” to play poker machines without the real-world implications:
“The odds of winning on an iPhone application are not the same as those in reality.
“Children will play these applications thinking they cannot lose when in reality you cannot win.
“We need an overhaul of our laws because the technological world has moved so quickly our laws are out of date and we need a national approach to this.”
He goes on to explain that he will move to ban any Australian business “making, distributing or profiting” from the sale of gambling applications like these to Aussie kids.
“If they are an Australian corporation, then we can legislate to stop this.”
Queensland already boasts some of the strongest gaming regulations in the country, as well as being the home of Pokie Magic. A spokesperson from their Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulations has gone on record explaining that – as ever – the responsbility lies with the parents, who should be “vigilant” about what their kids do on their phones.
“As with any technology the best form of regulation for children is parental supervision.”
…meanwhile, we’ve just fired up the Australian iTunes store and had a look for these Pokie Magic titles that are contributing to the downfall of our youth. We came up empty-handed, although their website has a whole bunch of poker machine-style games for sale, complete with the warning that they “should only be downloaded and played if you are aged 18 or over”.