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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Illinois To Fine Retailers For Selling Mature Games To Kids
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameDailybiz reported Monday that the Governor of Illinois signed a bill into law which will allow the state to levy fines against any retailer caught selling Mature rated games to anyone under the age of 18. Retailers would be charged with a petty offense and subject to a $1000 fine. In addition the bill requires retailers to label violent and sexually explicit video games and post signs explaining the ratings system. A failure to properly label will lead to a $500 fine for the first three violations and a $1,000 fine for each subsequent violation.

Making a direct link between this bill and the Hot Coffee controversy the Governor, in a press release, blasted the gaming industry in general:

"Unlike the motion picture industry, the video game industry has not developed an effective self-regulation system that keeps adult material out of the hands of minors." The recent events surrounding the "Hot Coffee" mod and the ESRB's rating change of Rockstar's GTA: San Andreas are cited by the release as a prime example.

"Parents today are up against a multi-billion dollar industry -- that peddles violent and sexually explicit video games to children. And when a kid plays the video game, he's not a spectator -- he's a participant. He's the one who uses the joystick and the keyboard. He's the one who takes crack cocaine and feels the video controller simulate what it's like to be on drugs. He's the one who engages in simulated sex. He cuts someone's head off and makes blood spurt from the neck. He's the killer who laughs at the victim and makes crude sexual comments after being with a prostitute. And, incidentally, he gets extra credit for doing it," the Governor said.

"For the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy violent and sexually explicit video games -- games that teach them to do the very things we put people in jail for," he continued.

Alarmed by the bill the Entertainment Software Association, the Video Software Dealers Association, and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association plan to file a lawsuit to prevent the bill from going into effect.
"This law will have a chilling effect on free speech. It will limit First Amendment rights not only for Illinois' residents, but for game developers and publishers, and for retailers who won't know what games can and cannot be sold or rented under this vague new statute," said ESA president Douglas Lowenstein. "I'm confident the court will affirm our position. There is already a precedent-setting ruling from the Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, establishing the unconstitutionality of this type of statute -- and the facts, the science, the law, and the U.S. Constitution have not changed since that decision."
Whether or not other states will follow suit with similar legislation in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal remains to be seen. For the full article head over to the GameDailybiz link below.

GameDailybiz: Illinois Game Bill

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Archives  News  Illinois To Fine Retailers For Selling Mature Games To Kids