South Australia Government Agrees To Change Its ‘Gambling Starts With Games’ Ads

South Australia Government Agrees To Change Its ‘Gambling Starts With Games’ Ads

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 ‘’ to ‘‘. 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.


  • Game:
    1 – “a form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules.”
    2 – “an activity that one engages in for amusement.”

    1- “play at games of chance for money.” I.E. “a gaming machine”

    • Just nitpicking though. The ad’s are for a good cause, they just gave unfair implications before. The change they made is a good one I think.

      • I agree that they’re a positive change from the previous incarnation, but I don’t find it to be nitpicking. I just find that concepts of public service and awareness shouldn’t be relegated down to catchphrases and slogans, especially ones which aren’t accurate.

        • I don’t think anyone (literate) confused the verb (or adjective) with the noun though. Both sentences are very clear contextually that the noun form is being used which is why the first version is so incredibly wrong as it definitively states that all forms of games (electronic or not) lead to gambling.

  • ‘Gambling is no game’ is a much better catchphrase. I quite like that and can fully support it.

    • As a big Valve fan, I’ve always been kind of uncomfortable with the crates / gambling system in TF2/Dota2. I can see how this could lead to gambling.

      However, I think the original tagline / ad image implies that they have evidence that the majority of gambling starts with electronic games, which is utter bs. Glad they changed it.

      • Perhaps the crates are a bit closer to a lottery?

        I’m not sure about SA, but in Western Australia Lotto seems to be promoted as a socially responsible way to give money to charity and totally different to gambling. So they might find it okay.

        • It’s not a lottery though, except in the sense that it raises money. You just have a 1% chance of getting something good, and a 9X% chance of something crappy..

    • Actually kind of surprised to see them embrace the change fully. Governments usually treat admitting error like squealing on the mob. Reluctantly, under duress, and deny all knowledge of it later.

      • I’m a bit surprised as well. When I first saw the original ads I just rolled my eyes and moved on, assuming they would never take the issue seriously and respond to criticism from the community. It’s encouraging to see that the SA government not only listened, but actually made suitable changes.

        Problem gambling is a serious issue, and I’m glad they were able to alter their approach to one that could actually promote awareness, rather than just coming across as another “Vid’ya games is tha’ devil!” type rant.

        This new campaign sends a much clearer and more sensible message. One that I could happily support.

    • 100% agree. It’s catchier, it sends a much cleaerer message, and doesn’t confuse the issue with unwarranted connections/assertions.

  • Gambling starts with crappy parents who leave their kids in the car in the parking lot of the rsl while they slap away a weeks pay on the pokies.

    Probably not as catchy in hindsight.

    • Pfft! What kind of a terrible parent would leave a child in the parking lot?

      We all know the responsible way to do it is to leave the kid w/ a few bucks and set them loose on the arcade machines and whatnot on the kids section of the RSL =P

      • Funnily enough thats what my parents used to do (actually left me at the arcade, which was right next door) and in the end I actually got a job at that arcade and worked there for 9 years, working my way up from floor walker to regional manager

        Good times

  • Were they taken down then? I mean if it’s been a month or so sitting in the public eye as is, everyone has already seen it!? For sure, change it now and the new ‘slogan’ might make a more valid point, but seems not so little and a bit too late.

  • I clicked this article because i saw one of these ads today. Any gamer who is offended by this needs to find themselves some real life responsibilities

  • Gambling starts with – competition. Any competition, where there are winners and losers.
    If you can’t be in the competition, you can settle for some other form of participation: attend a game, join a fan club, watch on TV, and gamble.
    If you truly wanted to cut back on gambling, you’d need to cut back on sporting events. The obvious ones to start with are horse races and greyhound races, but you’d have to include football too. Good luck with that.

  • “Gambling is no game” then have a picture of a bunch of school kids being shown the Melbourne Cup

  • Gambling is no game… So why is there 300 ads a day for bet 365 during cricket? And nobody does anything about that.

  • Over 90% of gamblers who are driven to suicide made their first bets as children.

    Silly statistic? Of course it is, but abusing our love for our children in order to push social policies works for the antismoking campaigns so why not use it for gambling too, eh?

    – MJM

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