When ads bearing the slogan ‘gambling starts with games’ started appearing throughout South Australia, there was an uproar amongst the local gaming community. Now, the South Australian government has agreed to adjust its advertising, changing the slogan from ‘Gambling starts with games‘ to ‘Gambling is no game‘.
The news comes in response to a letter of complaint sent by Ron Curry of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA). In December Curry asked that the South Australian government remove all copies of the offending image from advertising across the state, and provide a written acknowledgement that there is no evidence showing any causal link between video games and gambling.
In a letter of response sent to the IGEA, Jeremi Moule — the Executive Director of strategic engagement and communications for the South Australian government — said that the campaign would continue, as it reflects the government’s policy regarding children and gambling, but acknowledged that wording of the ad itself could have been misleading so it will be changed.
Now the campaign previously known as ‘Gambling starts with games’ is now being called ‘Gambling is no game’, a decision that has already been reflected on the campaign website. All assets on the site have been changed, and the plan is to change the URL from ‘nogame.com.au’ to ‘gamblingisnogame.com.au‘. In addition, all future advertising will reflect that change. Finally, in the weeks to come, the South Australia government plans to either remove or amend the remaining advertising in outdoor and public locations.
In many ways, it’s the perfect result. The issue was never with the South Australian government campaigning against child gambling, the issue was with implicating all video games in a rise in child gambling when there is no evidence to back up that assertion. ‘Gambling is no game’, in that sense, is a far more accurate slogan for the campaign, and one that doesn’t reduce the impact of the overall campaign itself.