Nick Xenophon Is Linking Mario Kart To Gambling Now

Nick Xenophon Is Linking Mario Kart To Gambling Now

Following Senator Nick Xenophon’s pronouncement earlier last week, South Australia’s Consumer and Business Services Minister has advised the state’s gambling authority to ban all forms of betting related to video games. But Senator Nick Xenophon went a little further on the weekend, saying that Mario Kart had been used as a vehicle for gambling.

In a release on the South Australian Premier’s website, Consumer and Business Services Minister John Rau said he had advised the state’s gambling regulator, the Independent Gambling Authority, to “not approve betting on computer game sporting events irrespective of where the event occurs”.

The release goes on to say that the Northern Territory “is the only jurisdiction” which permits esports betting, despite the fact that Crown Casino in Victoria permits bets on organised video game tournaments through Crownbet, including bets on tournaments held at Crown itself.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of gambling on sporting contests conducted on the platform of video games,” Minister Rau said. “The Government is determined to keep our children cyber safe. We do not want them to be introduced to gambling under the guise of a game.”

The minister’s statement was followed up by a release from Senator Nick Xenophon on Saturday, which claimed that the ban had impacted a Mario Kart tournament being held in Adelaide that day.

“Nick Xenophon has called for a national approach to betting on e-sports which will be part of a Senate inquiry he will be pushing for on this issue,” the Senator said in a release. “Mario Kart is a fantastic game that many millions of people around the world have enjoyed, but there are legitimate questions to ask about a kids game being used as a vehicle for online bookmakers and for gambling.”

The event supposedly affected was the “Mario Kart 8 Ultimate Challenge” at the Titanium Security Arena in South Australia’s Findon. It’s not known how the new ban would have affected the tournament though, as attendees were charged an entry fee to compete against each other. The event appeared to run without a hitch, with Nick Xenophon even attending to have a little fun with some indie games.

Tom Radomski, managing director of the Esports Gamers League which organised the Mario Kart event, told me that Senator Xenophon was quite supportive of the event when he spoke to him on Saturday. “It’s quite interesting how he’s made that [connection],” Radomski told me, when I asked what he thought of the Senator connecting Mario Kart to gambling in his release.

What’s even more unclear is how the Mario Kart tournament would have been affected by the South Australian government’s ban in the first place, being a physical tournament with no internet access. Radomski added that he supported the intention to weed out illegal and unregulated gambling, but the Senator appeared to not “have [the] right information at the time” the release was posted on his website.

The SA government stressed that it would continue to use educational games, with the state having previously encouraged school children to help redesign the state’s national parks in Minecraft.


  • Help me to understand here please people:

    Betting is allowed on Football matches (any code), and children are highly encouraged to participate in football, through school teams, clinics and through parental support of a-grade teams.

    What is the difference between betting on football and e-sports? Is gambling on traditional sport regulated in some way that e-sports isn’t regulated? Will betting be allowed on sports games?

    I really, really want to believe this isn’t just more scare-mongering for media attention.

    • Your logic is sound. And there won’t be any change in the legality of betting on video games in particular. This is just his opinion on the matter.

    • Here’s my understanding of these people, not that I agree with them.

      To them, it’s not about encouragement of participation in the activity, but the main target audience of the activity. Football, while played by kids, is mostly targeted towards adults. The target audience of Football is adults. Sure, kids watch it, and some kids play it, but even when children play it’s mostly an adult audience that watches. Furthermore, betting is an activity done by the audience, not the participants.

      To them, Video Games are mostly targeted at children. Maybe there are some exceptions (Such as Heavy Rain or Dark Souls), but the majority of them are targeted at children. And the majority of people watching eSports are children (or so these people think). So the difference in their eyes is betting on something that mostly adults watch vs. betting on something mostly children watch.

      They see it as betting on eSports is encouraging underage people to bet more than betting on Football is

      • Good point but as per the latest Digital Australia 2016 survey shows the average gamer in Australia is 33 years-old and 78% of gamers are over 18.

        They are protecting who exactly?

        I’m all for some regulation on gambling, but they can start with football thanks…

        • Good point but as per the latest Digital Australia 2016 survey shows the average gamer in Australia is 33 years-old and 78% of gamers are over 18.

          Well, if facts combated preconceptions and stereotypes, then the world would be a better place

    • I bet you $100 that a politician will say something stupid this month.

      Cmon Nick, ban politicians, I’m gambling on them therefore they must be banned!

  • I only clicked on this article because it had the Luigi Death Stare. Still laugh every time I see that gif.

  • Much better to have children introduced to gambling through through the tidal wave of Sports Betting sponsorship surrounding every sports broadcast on tv.

    • And plastered on signs everywhere. The local train station gets a lot of Ladbrokes ads posted around it during the State of Origin. A train station frequented by school students.

      • I have little to no interest in betting, yet it was always some sort of betting add on Youtube for me for months.

  • …but there are legitimate questions to ask about a kids game being used as a vehicle for online bookmakers and for gambling.There’s the first problem, thinking of games as being for kids. Yes, Mario Kart is enjoyed by children but it is not a kid’s game and, as the earlier part of the quote says, it is enjoyed by millions of people of all ages worldwide. As long as the game itself is not promoting gambling then it should not be held accountable for anything.

  • I think all Gambling should be regulated.

    I think it’s weird to link Mario Kart specifically to Gambling. I honestly thought this was going to have something to do with the Coins in Mario Kart 8,

    I think Laws should be written in such a way as some new form of sport or technological innovation should fall under the betting act rather than need it’s own specific rules. And it takes people outside the sphere of influence a long time to react and or notice.

    Also anybody looking forward to that Carnival of Gambling that is the upcoming Melbourne Cup?

  • Guys, guys. I decided to go see what I could bet on, and found the e-sports page on William Hill.

    Check out their e-sports description:

    Games are normally played in a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) format. The most prominent games are DotA 2 (Defense of the Ancients), which features 2 teams of 5 players. The aim of the game is to destroy the other side’s fortress, by the use of ‘Hero’ characters that have special powers. StarCraft 2 is another MOBA game that dominates the E-Sports scene. In this game, players inhabit a sci-fi world of aliens and spaceships. There are dozens of different levels and missions. Another popular MOBA game is League of Legends (LoL), played by millions online each day. LoL is similar to DotA 2 in that the objective of the game is to destroy the fortress of the opposition. CS:GO (Counter Strike: Global Offensive) continues to be one of the most popular online games. This first person shooter game draws millions of online players that try kill each other in a virtual arena.

  • I bet you $100 that the bible contains the word “thou” at least a 1000 times.

    Cmon Nick, ban the bible, I’m gambling on it therefore it must be banned!

    • I bet you $100 that dazzler keeps putting up gambling comments on Kotaku. With that in mind, I would suggest banning dazzler because he a) may have children, b) may have children in the future, or c) may interact with other people’s children at some point and therefore may force his gambling ways on said children.

  • This weekend, if your Blue Shell decimates the field and you still lose, MONEY BACK*! *bets up to $50.

  • I assume what Nick Xenophon means is that bookmakers would not be allowed to take bets on the competition. Are there any age restrictions on entering the competition? Are kids allowed to compete in it?
    Betting is allowed on football, but is betting allowed on school football? Should it be?
    I don’t have the answers to any of these questions, but calling for a review doesn’t seem crazy to me.

  • While I believe that betting on e-sports should be regulated heavily (due to potential exposure to children), lets be realistic here. Gambling on e-sports is not necessarily wrong, and can be done quite legitimately with no harm done, much like gambling on regular sports. And as my fellow commenters have said numerous times, games are NOT necessarily for children. They are very much now marketed at adults as well, and the sooner politicians wake up to this the better.

    I think what needs some review before this, is the constant barrage of TV advertising that Gambling agencies seem to be able to get away with now. Every second ad during sports (only TV I watch tbh) is a Sportsbet/Ladbrokes/bet365/whatever ad, and guess what people, KIDS WATCH TELEVISION. This shit needs to be sorted out long before video game gambling does, because it’s gotten to ridiculous proportions, AND happens during the event you’re watching on both paytv and free to air.

  • The only way I can see bans on esports gambling affecting Mario Kart is if they somehow crack down on money matches which is just patently stupid. That would be like banning two-up or not allowing to bet money on a kid’s handball match. Xenophon needs to learn a lot more about esports before spouting some of this utterly incorrect crap.

    • “Mario Kart is a fantastic game that many millions of people around the world have enjoyed, but there are legitimate questions to ask about a kids game being used as a vehicle for online bookmakers and for gambling.”

      Yup. That looks like linking Mario Kart to gambling to me.

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