Misleading Anti-Gambling Campaign Slogan Replaced by South Australian Government

Jeremi Moule, Executive Director of the South Australian Government's Strategic Engagement and Communications, has agreed to remove the controversial billboard containing the advertising slogan “Gambling starts with Games”. The government website page that banners the slogan deemed as offensive by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) of Australia now carries a new campaign watchword, “Gambling is no game”.

In addition to South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill's public acknowledgment that the language of the ad campaign went too far, Director Jeremy Moule also issued a written confirmation that the slogan was indeed misleading. The state government's recent actions are in response to IGEA member Ron Curry's open letter last December 2013 and addressed to the SA Premier's office. The letter included a request for the removal of the image and the slogan, which the video gaming industry deems as offensive; and for the government to issue a written acknowledgment that “there is no evidence showing a casual link between video games and gambling”.

Paul Delfabbro, one of the researchers involved in the formulation of the state government's policy on children, technology and gambling, disclosed that the report submitted by his team suggested a correlation between gaming and gambling; but there is no clear link that establishes the fact that gaming always leads to gambling.

The Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), which fully supported the actions taken by the IGEA, has lauded the association for successfully refuting the false attack on the video gaming industry. After all, the context of the slogan “Gambling starts with Games”, insinuates that video games lead to gambling. The billboard carrying the misleading slogan showed an image of a young girl seated at a poker table with an iPad on hand.