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Banned Casino Games: Cancel Culture or Industry Maturation?By Shane Addinall Jan 18, 2022 IndustryNoLimit City released one of their most anticipated slots this month and a few days later a statement surfaced to explain that some operators blocked the game. Is this the beginning of censorship in online gambling?
Software developer, Nolimit City, launched one of their most anticipated slot sequels this month. The western-themed Tombstone R.I.P. video slot made its way to casino platforms and gamblers were ecstatic to take it for a spin. Surprisingly, the online game is not available at all Nolimit-powered operators and punters want to know why.
Followers of the provider reached out to them to establish why Tombstone R.I.P. is not available on their favourite gambling platforms. The NoLimit team responded with an Instagram statement to provide some clarity on the matter. They did this diplomatically, encouraging players to understand that operators make calls like this based on legal red tape and responsible gambling policies.
The NoLimit City Instagram statement said:
“The reason for this is simply that operators may have their own responsible gambling policies which they need to adhere to and may also have views on the games’ theme and visuals being too brutal and harsh for their audience.”
It is yet to be revealed where in the global igaming industry the game is not being aired and we are wondering where this sudden censorship in an adults-only entertainment sphere is coming from.
Why is Gambling Content being Censored?
The news comes with an enormous question mark, as this type of censorship is unknown in the gambling industry. Being an age-restricted market, we can say that anything goes in the themed genre for gambling games. We do not need to scratch deep to find many dark themes and games with graphic images in online gambling. So why shun this western-themed video slot that has some gory images, but nothing more than what we’ve already seen?
NoLimit City is licensed and regulated by the top bodies in online gambling, including the two toughest legislators – UKGC and MGA. Their games need to adhere to strict protocols enforced by these regulators to make it onto a platform’s library. Players and affiliates rate the release as top class, and some are so impressed that they believe it could be the game of the year.
With regulatory boxes ticked and fans giving it a thumbs up, the reasoning behind blocking the game seems to stem directly from cancel culture. As the team pointed out, the operators may have an opinion on the violent nature of the content. Until now, gamblers had the choice of whether or not they wanted to play a violent game. If the game had ticked regulatory boxes, the freedom of choice rested with the players themselves. As it should - especially as all legal gamblers are over the age of 18.
Could this be the beginning of content censorship within the gambling industry on a broader scale? Will more operators follow in the footsteps of those banning Tombstone R.I.P? And what does that mean for the creative expression of software providers?
Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other
Existing and well-distributed gambling content includes themes with disturbing visuals like asylums with blood-stained walls, or titles descending into the depths of hell. Bloodthirsty vampires, terrifying zombies, and horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street have all made it to online slot screens without a mention of censorship.
If casino platforms are suddenly blocking a western-horror slot because they feel the content is too violent for their audience, we must wonder how their audience feels about this choice being removed from their list. If we look at ratings of the game, it will be a blockbuster hit in igaming, which is bound to attract attention. By simply cancelling a game because the content may offend a section of your audience leans strongly toward taking their freedom of choice away.
This is something we've seen again and again regions where regulators such as the UKGC has a chokehold on how operators treat players. It also means players can no longer choose how or when they spend their money, instead being forced to abide by rules that treat adults like children. There's a good chance that this fear of what regulators will do about violent games such as Tombstone R.I.P (or possible laws that will appear in the future), could be why a few online casinos have dropped the ban hammer already.
How Will Punters React?
From what we gather, NoLimit’s sequel has brilliant mechanics, and the graphic and audio design work is stellar. The provider explained they must respect their clients’ decision in this matter, but how does the player audience feel about it? Are the casinos playing it safe for the sake of regulatory protocols, or are they taking their patron’s freedom of choice away from them?
Only time will tell what the impact of this move will be, but NoLimit reckons more blocking of content can be expected.
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