Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are at the center of a proposed bill in the Australian parliament, which would define the titles as gambling and could potentially see them banned or mandatorily 18 rated .
Introduced by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, a veteran politician in Australia, he told the Sydney Morning Herald that the bill is looking to curtail what he considers to be the Wild West of online gambling that is actually targeting kids.
The concept of skin betting is a nominally no-cash betting entertainment where the stakes are game commodities eg skins, hides, cases, chests. Presumably the skins are made available in the games. The skins betting sites are quite professionally
presented along the lines of cash sports betting sites. And several have been linked to games producers. Of course even if skins are nominally not cash, the fact that they are scarce resources makes them suitable for trading and purchases somewhere along
Skin betting has been controversial of late with CS:GO and Dota 2's developer, Valve, eventually responding to the controversy by sending cease and desist letters to 23 of the most prolific third-party gambling sites, asking them to cease
Xenophon argues that the in-game commodities known as cases (or chests in Dota 2) is gambling in and of itself, due to the differing value of the rewards players receive from them.
Should the bill become law, games providing such betting opportunities will be 18 rated, regardless of the level of content in terms of sex and violence etc. Furthermore if games become classified as gambling, Valve would find itself in breach of
Australian law as only companies registered in the country are allowed to offer gambling services, meaning the games could get pulled from sale in Australia altogether.
Nick Xenophon's bill will be introduced to the senate next month as Australian Federal Parliament resumes.
Offsite Article: Xenophon's ill-judged counter strike
4th August 2016. See article from theconversation.com
Nick Xenophon plans to introduce a bill to Parliament that could stipulate a minimum age for playing first-person shooter games which include payment for mystery items. This is a feature of games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive , Overwatch
and indeed many mobile games that get revenue through micro-transactions.
News reports have inevitably represented the issue according to the same media effects model Xenophon has adopted. That is, first-person shooters groom kids for gambling and video games expose unsuspecting children and young people to
danger and risk. It is the kind of half-story often told, one that reflects our tendency as a society to reductively demonise every new medium, to blame them for our problems, and turn them into scapegoats for our bad habits and antisocial behaviour.
For instance, book-reading was once considered a lazy, indulgent or reclusive activity, TV gave our children square eyes and being online all the time prevented young people from learning how to behave appropriately in face-to-face contexts. Oh,
and video games turn high school kids into mass murderers (think Columbine or Sandy Hook), or at the very least make our children obese, more aggressive and lacking in empathy. They also have been said to cause learning difficulties, behavioural problems
and now, according to Xenophon, early-onset gambling addiction.
...Read the full article from theconversation.com