Fine Gael TD for Dublin North West, Noel Rock has called on the Government to review gambling legislation to tackle the increase in video game developers promoting in-game purchases. 

The Deputy’s call comes after it was revealed that a new online casino in the popular game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ will accept real money for casino chips but cannot be converted back to cash.

Speaking on the matter, Deputy Rock said, “Video games are more popular than ever but there has been a worrying trend as to the increase in popularity of in-game purchases. I was concerned to read the development of an online casino in the GTA online platform and particularly as players can use real money to buy chips for betting but can’t exchange the chips for real money. 

“This is concerning on two levels; firstly, it is taking money from gamers for nothing and secondly, and probably most concerning is, it exposes gambling to a young audience as despite the 18 rating of the game, it’s extremely popular with young teens.

“I am aware that the Government have previously indicated that these purchases are covered under consumer law, but I do believe we need to take a proactive approach to this matter and look at the possibility of expanding our gambling legislation to cover this new trend,” continued Deputy Rock.

“I don’t intend to be a killjoy on this matter, but we need to ensure that we protect gamers when it comes to issues like this. In some cases, they are asked to pay a significant amount for a video game to then be told they need to or may be interested in purchasing further content within the game and I believe the development of this online casino in Grand Theft Auto is a step too far,” concluded Deputy Rock.