The South Australian government continues to pass controversial laws pertaining to gambling, with betting on eSports being the latest victim of this worrying new policy.
Earlier this month, the Consumer and Business Affairs Minister John Rau ordered the Independent Gambling Authority to reject eSports betting, claiming that wagering on computer and video gaming competitions may negatively impact children.
Ironically, the ban coincided with South Australia's hosting of the Mario Kart competition, held at the Adelaide Arena.
Games for Fun or Education Only
According to the South Australian government's policy on Children, Technology and games, authorities could and should encourage children to play games that are fun and/educational. On the other hand, authorities have to "act against activities which lured children into gambling."
Rau issued a press release last week, explaining the government's policy against eSports betting.
"Children are particularly vulnerable to the attraction of gambling on sporting contests conducted on the platform of video games," he 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.
Influence of Nick Xenophon
Perhaps it will come as no surprise to learn that the senator who represents South Australia is Nick Xenophon, considered one of the country's leading opponents of gambling.
Recently the Senator said in a press release that he would do his best to campaign against eSports betting and that he would demand that it be classified as gambling under state laws. He has gone after first-person shooter video games such as Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global offensive, accusing them of "grooming" kids for gambling and calling them "incredibly misleading and deceptive."
"This is the Wild West of online gambling that is actually targeting kids," he said. "Instead of shooting avatars, parents soon find out that their children have shot huge holes through their bank accounts."