South Australia will remove gaming billboards

When the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association confronted the South Australian Government over billboards linking video games to problem gambling, we didn’t expect anything to come of it. However, while there’s still a way to go, we’re now pleasantly surprised.

Gambling starts with games

Visit: nogame.com.au

The “Gambling starts with Games” billboards started popping up around Adelaide last week, prompting an angry letter from Ron Curry, CEO of the iGEA.

From the letter:

There are a number of representations that are likely to be interpreted by the Billboard, including:

  • that playing games, including tablet computer games, leads to gambling; and
  • that playing simulated gambling games leads to gambling

    The iGEA claims the SA Government breaches its own Advertising Guidelines, by not providing accurate or objective representation of statistics – the studies cited on thenogame.sa.gov.au state there is no evidence to suggest a causal connection between playing games (even simulated gambling games) and gambling itself.

    Curry’s letter explicitly asked for the removal of all of the campaign’s billboards, as well as acknowledgements that the Government did wrong, plus a reassurance that “such inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims will not be repeated”.

    Less than a week later, the South Australian Premier is taking steps in the right direction.

    An Australian Broadcasting Corporation news report features SA Premier Jay Weatherill accepting that while the original message had merit, the advertising went a bit far.

    The way in which it was pitched really pathologised all games, and that’s not the message that we wanted to send out.

    While the billboards are reportedly still up in various locations, the Premier has announced that they will be removed “soon”.

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