Popular multiplayer first-person shooter games have come under the radar of Australian senator Nick Xenophon, who has declared war. The senator wants to crack down on games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and have them labelled as "online gambling".
Xenophon plans to introduce a bipartisan bill to the Australian federal parliament, calling for a redefinition of these games.
The senator says that he is concerned that the games are deliberately targeting children, calling them the "Wild West of online gambling".
Xenophon said that the "insidious" games were "morphing into full-on gambling, and that itself is misleading and deceptive."
What are First Person Shooter Games?
First-person shooter games, in essence, allow players to obtain virtual weapons, also known as skins. The value of these skins can range from a few cents to thousands of dollars, and they can be sold for real money on Counter Strike developer, Valve's in-game market platform, called Steam. What bothers Xenophon is that these skins can also be sold on third party sites, and therein lies the problem. When sold on these sites, the skins are traded for chips at online blackjack and roulette sites.
Two separate lawsuits have already challenged Valve Software, charging the company for encouraging the growth of an illegal online gambling market. In response, Valve denounced the sale of skins on third-party gambling sites and said that such actions were a violation of Steam's terms and conditions of service.
Changes to Interactive Gambling Act
Senator Xenophon said in an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald that he would be calling for the Interactive Gambling act of 2001 to be updated. He called the law outdated and said "it may as well be 150 years old in terms of dealing with these issues.
He hopes for changes to include warnings on the games and the enforcement of a minimum age.