The IGEA Asks South Australia To Remove All ‘Gambling Starts With Games’ Advertisements

The IGEA Asks South Australia To Remove All ‘Gambling Starts With Games’ Advertisements

In response to a series of ads stating ‘Gambling Start With Games’, Ron Curry of the IGEA has written to the South Australian government asking that all advertisements be removed.

Earlier this week the South Australian government courted controversy with a series of billboard adds designed to alert parents to the issues of underage gambling on mobile devices. The ads ran with the tagline ‘Gambling starts with games’ — a tagline that essentially tarred all video games with the same clumsy brush and, bizarrely, ignores the research it cites on its own website.

The ad showed a young girl, playing on an iPad, surrounded by gambling chips. The message ‘Gambling starts with games’ sits above. According to the IGEA that message not only misrepresents the targets of South Australia’s campaign, it’s also technically is in breach of South Australia’s Advertising Guidelines.

Those guidelines demand that all advertisements remain accurate and objective in its representation of facts and statistics. The South Australian government advertisements, claim the IGEA, do not accurately represent existing research.

The letter states:

There are a number of representations that are likely to be interpreted by the Billboard, including:
• that playing games, including tablet computer games, leads to gambling; and
• that playing simulated gambling games leads to gambling.
Both of these representations are inaccurate and unsubstantiated. The most recent research cited by the website specifically states that:
“This study does not suggest that simulated gambling precedes or follows monetary gambling.”

Furthermore, the author of the most recent research cited by in 2012 stated the following:
“It should be recognized that any sort of gambling during adolescence does not necessarily lead to gambling during adulthood. Although early exposure may familiarize young people with gambling, it does not always follow that involvement or interest in gambling at a younger age will be associated with subsequent gambling”

And later:

The statement on the Billboard is highly inaccurate and the advertisement fails to source any relevant data. Furthermore, the existing research simply does not substantiate the statement made on the Billboard.

The IGEA is now requesting that South Australia not only remove the ‘Gambling Starts With Games’ billboards, but post a written statement on the South Australian Premier’s website acknowledging the error.

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 website to rectify the breach of the Guidelines, including an acknowledgment of the removal of the Billboard image 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.

It’s a powerful response to a powerfully stupid advertising campaign. A comprehensive dismantling of what was essentially a fear-mongering campaign designed to strike fear into the hearts of uninformed parents across South Australia. We commend the IGEA for taking such swift, decisive action.

The letter in full is set to appear on the IGEA’s website soon. We’ll update the story with a link when it becomes available.


  • God this is so petty. The fact that the government hasn’t realised “gamers” are becoming more and more every day, is astounding. Instead of battling this wave of culture, why not work with it? Fucking annoying

    • As a South Australian: I’m sorry, and WTF.

      This is the same State government that just spent tens of millions on a special bridge which literally carries 50,000 people straight out of the new Adelaide Oval (where they can bet on cricket/footy) straight into the Casino. Coincidentally, the Casino has also been exempted from new late night trading laws.

      So yeah, obviously attacking gamers is the best solution to this problem. That ought to counter act the huge, active support the government gives to gambling in this state.

      • This is an important point. I’m concerned people are writing off the SA government as backwards and uninformed. Gaming has become an overused scapegoat by politicians to the point where it’s starting to be fairly transparent; their motives here aren’t necessarily to demonise gaming but to deflect attention from the fact that they support gambling while simultaneously appearing to stop it.

      • No surprise when I saw on the news that south australian farmer was complaining about the lack of support for farmers by the south australian governement and he saw a video where the said government was discussing providing the said support and it was ignored and cancelled because the politicians were to busy buying a tricycle on an online store and another two playing solitare and another three playing sodoku and two were sleeping…. So NO REAL SURPRISE this kind of advertising went through them without a hitch

  • I hope that the ads are pulled. No other organisation is allowed to get away with false advertising, so it would be pretty disgusting if this got a pass just because it furthered the state government’s vested interest in having a massive stick up their arse.

  • Kudos to the IGEA for their level-headed and convincing response. Makes the government look like the scaremongers they really are.

  • been playing video games for almost 3 decades (since I was 6), I’ve probably dropped less than $100 on any forms gambling combined in my life.

    Billboard’s statement is horseshit.

      • A headshot from 500+ metres in battlefield is far more rewarding than any crooked game of blackjack or roullette

        • Not sure where you’re gambling, but as an ex croupier, I can assure you the employees of casinos are 100 times more frightened of even accidently breaking a rule let alone intentionally than customers ever will be. As for roulette… I’m not even sure how you’d rig it make it more rewarding for the purveyor… maybe not allow betting on red/black? Roulette has such horrible odds for the player to begin with.

    • I’m 34, been gaming since my earliest memories, I even enjoyed Casino Games on the Sega Master System. I’ve probably gambled around $100 in my life also, and I didn’t really enjoy it either.

    • Likewise – been gaming for just a handful more years than doubledizz. Will drop a fiver in the office World Cup pools once every 4 years and had one day at the races about 20 years ago. Played a lot of computer poker against the PC when I was trying to learn the game (Poker Night at the Inventory), realised pretty quickly I just don’t have the brain for it, and have never played a real game in my life. House always wins. Best thing about the Casino in Melbourne is the 24 hour sports bar…

  • This is absolutely ridiculous, to think that the SA government would stoop to such a low level to stop people gambling is absurd. I’ve been playing games since my brother had the atari 2600 and i can count the amount of time i have gambled. Poor form

  • All gambling starts with one thing and one thing only; money.

    Teach people to act responsibly with their cash and gambling will finally be treated with the caution it diserves.

    • Haha. Well said.

      My earliest gambling memory was when I was about 8, winning $20 on number 12 of the Melbourne Cup. I never bet on it personally, but my family would always do a sweepstakes for every family member. All I remember is being told “hey Scott, you won $20” and I had no idea why but I was stoked cause when you’re that age, especially in the early 80s, $20 was a fortune!

    • Picked Macivey Diva all three years while I was still in high school. Only time I’ve ever had good luck betting on the ponies.

  • Any time I’ve gambled it’s on football. I’m interested in football because I watched it from a young age and feel that I have a reasonable enough knowledge to predict an outcome every now and then. So on that, gambling starts with sports. Let’s ban sports

  • Dear Mark Serrels : Please, whenever you are writing an article and must include an acronym, it would be nice if you could include the full name of what that acronym represents…i dunno, *anywhere* in your article? Not all of us are familiar with every article that refers to this “IGEA”

  • It’s like SA government is trying to maintain the legacy of that horrendously out of touch AG they had for all those years. Like Liquid Snake trying to resurrect Outer Haven, except without the hate and Metal Gear.

  • I can play solitaire on ‘vegas’ scoring for hours, yet dislike all forms of gmabling. Maybe a more useful statistic would be to some science on how many people that played games or gambly games as children are partial to a punt when they’re older.

    That website is so absolutely useless as it does very little to address tangible, known issues and causes of problem gambling. Such a waste of money. And those ads *shakes head*

    • I think the problem is in the vernacular. The minister that oversees gambling isn’t the minister for Pokies and TABs, he’s the minister for gaming. No one on government knows what gaming is. They must think we’re all slot junkies using our x-stations and playcubes to watch Sky Racing.

  • I would argue that the opposite of the SA government’s advertisement is true, as playing video games makes gambling-style games seem boring in comparison!

    • It always amused me that I was never allowed in the pokies room while at the bowling club with my grandparents where I could put a dollar in a machine to play a game where I might win some money, but it was totally legal for me to go put a dollar in a video game machine where I am guaranteed to get NO monetary returns.

  • If anything, games taught me all about the odds of winning. An important lesson since to this day I am very careful when I take any sought of ‘gamble’. That and when it comes to actual gambling at say the casino I dont find it interesting enough to actually get involved.

  • no no no… they mean playing any sort of games (whether that be on an electronic device or otherwise) leads to gambling. kids shouldnt be allowed to play games in the playground. Sorry kids. you cant play dodgeball or tip as that leads to gambling.

  • The real reason people start gambling is due to sport. When people get so invested in the high of winning, or having their team win, or who or whatever they are supporting in the race winning.

    A lot of gambling is chasing that high. It doesn’t come the same was as video games because ultimately the importance you get from winning a game is not really equatable. I win a round of Battlefield, I don’t give a fuck.

  • Pretty sure the premier is going to be fairly busy dealing with a different problem by the time their deadline hits.

  • South Australia has some major problems. I think people forget its mostly run by Christian and Family First parties… so naturally they use children as the excuse to push their agendas on what they believe is acceptably ‘moral’ and ‘right’. This effects video games, movies and literature the most. Anything remotely adult and they use kids as their way of pushing an issue. Its kind of sad…

    Did they end up going ahead with the plan to remove the covers of every R18+ movie (DVD and Blu-rays) and replace them with text?

    • I believe the law is that R18+ media – movies, games, etc. – must be in a labelled section of the store or have their covers… covered. Most stores I’ve been to, e.g JB and EB, have part of the regular shelves separated with ‘R18+ material’ signs. Occasionally they’ll be on separate shelves.

      Incredibly pointless law.

      • I disagree on the R18 shelf – I think that the separation of R18 games/movies makes the point that certain games/movies are NOT for kids, and I think that as responsible gamers we should be supporting things that educate non-gaming parents of gamer kids that some games are very much adult themed. Just like top-shelf magazines are top-shelf for a reason. That particular bit of the law I have no problem with. The thought of Human Centipede being only a couple of cases along from Horton Hears A Who gives me the shivers… That’s why I like R18 sections. That, and it helps me go straight for the movies I might want… 🙂

        Plain-covers or shrink-wrap outers and the rest of the moralising that goes on like the poster in the OP is totally pointless though.

    • Nothing could make QLD’s current “arrest anyone with a tattoo/beard/motorcycle/being-in-the-wrong-place laws even remotely sane. If I didn’t live in SA I would honestly be scarred to leave my home. while i’m not in a gang my appearance is a walking bikie cliché.

  • The gaming industry would be treated compleeeeetely differently, if it were a large industry in Australia.

  • I think it was a typo. It was meant to be a lesson in syntax. It should have read:
    “Gambling starts with gam”

  • I find gambling far less interesting than gaming, and have no interest in pokies etc until they resemble video arcades rather than minimum effort pension vacuums.
    In my untrained opinion, sports breeds far more interest in gambling, and considering the kickbacks government get from sports gambling, I think government support has a far greater effect on gambling than games could ever have

  • I saw this while walking thru rundle mall on the way to the pub for lunch yesterday and fully wtf’d.

  • It sucks because of my incompetent government i now get viliified as a South Australian and as a gamer, But the worst thing is, is that i know exactly where that photo was taken.

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