A Good Igea About Gambling

A billboard from the government campaign showing a preteen girl with an iPad, surrounded by gambling chips and wearing glasses seen on some poker players hiding their expressions.

On December 10, Any Any reported on a South Australian government campaign called No Game, in which the government admitted that there is no causal link between playing computer games and becoming a slavish poker machine addict, but insisted that there should be cause for alarm and stress about it anyway.

The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association is an industry body representing pretty much what you'd expect from the name; the commercial interests of the video game industry.  It's not a freedom and civil liberties advocacy body, but bad policy around technology and computer games almost always goes hand in hand with commercial impact to the industry that creates and sells them, so IGEA generally and CEO Ron Curry specifically, have landed some blows against bad government ideas before - particularly in classification and censorship.

IGEA wrote to the SA government.  They seem pretty steamed.  Particularly about billboards that the government has erected as part of the campaign, and particularly about governmental requirements that advertising be truthful and accurate, a standard the general public isn't actually legally held to under voluntary self-regulatory schemes. The letter is worth reading in its entirety but it concludes;

IGEA requests the following action to rectify the damage caused by the Billboard:

a) the immediate removal of all copies of the image displayed on the BIllboard from public display, including from all outdoor advertising, websites and publications;

b) a written statement from the South Australian Government published on the South Australian Premier's website and the www.nogame.sa.gov.au website to rectify the breach of the Guidelines, including an acknowledgement of the removal of the Billboard images and an acknowledgement that there is no evidence that suggests a causal connection between playing games, including simulated gambling games, and gambling;

c) written confirmation of the completion of both a) and b); and

d) the South Australian Government's reassurance that such inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims will not be repeated.

We expect a timely response to this matter before close of business Friday 20 December 2013.

Any Any will publish the outcome of this. It's guaranteed to be interesting one way or the other.