Proposed new mandatory minimum classifications for gambling-like content in computer games

We're seeking your feedback on the draft Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2023 in relation to the following changes:

  • proposed new mandatory minimum classifications of R 18+ (Restricted to adults aged 18 and over) for games which contain simulated gambling and M (Mature — not recommended for persons under 15) for computer games containing loot boxes that can be purchased or other in-game purchases linked to chance; and
  • proposed new definitions, 'In-Game purchases linked to elements of chance', 'Loot Box', 'Real world currency' and 'Simulated Gambling'.

Why we want your input

The purpose of the National Classification Scheme is to help Australians make informed decisions about what they and those in their care read, hear, watch and play, and to protect the community from unwanted exposure to material they find offensive. Your views will directly contribute to how gambling-like content in computer games is regulated in Australia.

How you can voice your opinion

You can have your say by reading the draft Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2023 below and providing a submission with your views on the highlighted changes.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your submission will inform the final Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2023, which will be agreed between the Australian Government and state and territory governments as partners in the National Classification Scheme under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Censorship 1995.

The Issue

On 29 March 2023, the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, announced that the Australian Government would seek the agreement of states and territories to stronger regulation of gambling-like content in computer games. Proposed changes would introduce mandatory minimum classifications of R 18+ (Restricted to 18 and over) for games which contain simulated gambling and M (Mature — not recommended for persons under 15) for computer games containing loot boxes that can be purchased or other in-game purchases linked to chance.

The Australian Government's position was informed by growing evidence of the harms associated with gambling-like products in computer games, including a literature review commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts in 2022. This research demonstrated links between in-game purchases, paid loot boxes and simulated gambling, and gambling harm.

We want to hear your views on the proposed changes relating to gambling-like content in computer games.

Simulated gambling relates primarily to social casino games, such as virtual slot machines, that mimic real-world gambling. Recent evidence from the Australian Institute for Family Studies' Growing Up in Australia: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children showed a causal link between playing simulated gambling games and the take-up of real-world gambling later in life.

The proposed mandatory minimum classification of R18+ for games containing simulated gambling would align with existing age-based restrictions for real world gambling.

Loot boxes are sealed mystery containers, often purchased with real money and that include random or chance-based items, potentially including items of value within a game.

In-game purchases (or microtransactions) are purchases of digital goods or services that can be made within a game using real world currency.

The proposed mandatory minimum classification of M would only apply to games containing loot boxes which can be purchased with real money or other in-game purchases linked to chance. It is not intended to capture chance-based features of games that do not involve monetary transactions. 

It's easy to have your say, simply read the draft document and make a submission by clicking the 'Have Your Say' button, or email or write to us using the contact details below.

The consultation draft below highlights the relevant changes in yellow. Please limit your feedback to these proposed changes only.

Relevant documentation

Participate

17 May 2023 17:00 AEST
07 Jun 2023 17:00 AEST
Closed

We invite you to to tell us your views on this topic.

Please include:

  • contact name
  • organisation name, if applicable
  • contact details, including telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • confirmation whether or not your submission can be made public—published—or kept confidential.

All submissions to be made public need to meet the Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.

If your submission is to be made public, please ensure you do not include any personal information that you don't want to be published.

If your submission is confidential, please ensure each page of the submission is marked as confidential.

Please click on the 'Have your say now' button below to upload your submission.

This consultation is closed.

Alternatively, you can email your completed submission to reform@classification.gov.au or send to:

Director
Reform Policy, Classification Branch
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notice

Proposed new mandatory minimum classifications for gambling-like content in computer games

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (the department) is collecting information for the purposes of public consultation on the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2023, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988.

The department will use this information to inform consideration of issues associated with the public consultation on the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games 2023 and will store this information securely. It may be used by the department to make further contact with you about the review.

The department will not disclose information to third parties, except in the circumstances outlined below.

Submissions, in part or full, including the name of the author may be published on the department's website unless the submission is confidential.

Confidential submissions (including the author's name) will not be published. Private addresses and contact details will not be published or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish you make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.

Confidential submissions will be kept securely and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • where required by law.

The department may also disclose confidential submissions within the Commonwealth of Australia, including with other Commonwealth agencies, where necessary in the public interest.

Please note that in order to protect the personal privacy of individuals in accordance with the Privacy Act any submissions containing sensitive information, personal information or information which may reasonably be used to identify a person or group of people may not be published, even if not marked as confidential.

The department's privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the department. The Privacy Officer can be contacted on 02 6274 6495 or by email: privacy@infrastructure.gov.au.

Submissions

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