NBA 2K20 Gambling Trailer Gets PEGI Seal of Approval for Your Kids

Journalist:
September 2, 2019

By CCN Markets: Fresh off last week’s controversial NBA 2K20 MyTeam mode trailer, that appeared to sideline basketball for the neon and glitz of a thin-veiled casino hall, the European game content rating board, PEGI, reveals it has no issue rating the game as suitable for children despite explicit gambling imagery and mechanics.

Want Lebron? Pay up and you may get lucky! | Source: NBA 2K20/ 2K Games

PEGI Responds

A Reddit user going by the name of Internutt, opted to contact PEGI to understand the reasoning behind allocating NBA 2K20’s latest trailer with a PEGI 3 rating (akin to the American ESRB E rating) and more importantly why it wasn’t flagged as flagrant gambling. A PEGI representative offered the following response;

A video game gets the gambling content descriptor if it contains moving images that encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling.

Eager to clarify the statement, the response explains that these ”moving images” must actively teach players to gamble and doesn’t extend to games that feature gambling a part of the story.

The NBA 2K20 trailer certainly depicts gambling imagery from a slot machine to a roulette wheel and even the use of terms like jackpot, and PEGI appears to recognize this, saying;

The trailer includes imagery that is generally known from casinos (wheel of fortune, slot machines). Using this sort of mechanic to select an item, or character, or action by chance is not the same as teaching how to gamble for money in a casino. These differences currently prevent us from applying the gambling descriptor.

NBA 2K20 Features Gambling Imagery, PEGI Says That’s Okay

Nevertheless, the rating board appears all too happy to let this slide stating that gambling may be central to the NBA 2K20 trailer, but this won’t necessarily be the case in the full game. However, there appears to be a degree of dissonance here as the trailer exists to highlight what the full game will offer players.

Additionally, NBA 2K20 releases this Friday, Sept. 6, meaning PEGI has long since defined a final rating, notwithstanding the fact that there is no time to change or amend the contents of the game. We can, therefore, confidently expect an experience akin to that depicted in the trailer to feature in the full game.

A quick look at the trailer and PEGI’s response appears as brutish pedantry. To the onlooker, there’s more gambling than basketball in the NBA 2K20 trailer, and going by PEGI’s policies, there’s more than a passing mention of gambling as a narrative device. The mode boasts a gambling eco-system to entice players to part with real money to be in with the chance of securing randomly distributed in-game rewards.

Interestingly, 2K has unlisted the trailer following the wave of criticism, positioning it as the company’s most down-voted YouTube video to date with over 18,000 down-votes and counting.

PEGI’s very purpose is the provision of unbiased age recommendations and content descriptions to help the consumer make informed decisions. With the latest NBA 2K20 rating, the board appears to have fallen significantly short of just that.

Thomas Bardwell @TomBWrites

Thomas is a UK-based video game writer with an unhealthy obsession for everything weird and wonderful about the world of gaming. Contact: tbardwellfreelance[at]gmail[dot]com or Twitter at @TomBWrites