Friday, October 15, 2004

article: Neopets gambling controversy

Article: Neopets gambling controversy


Posted by Zonk on Friday October 15, @10:05AM
from the neoaddicts-eh? dept.
Neopoet writes "Players of the online virtual pet game Neopets (claims 70 million pet owners worldwide) have gone nuts against an Australian current affairs show called Today Tonight after the show ran segments railing against the Neopets for introducing children to gambling. Click below to read on.

It started when McDonalds Australia included a Neopets plush toy with every kids' Happy Meal in Australia, directing kids to the Neopets website.

To "feed" their pets, Neopets players have to win points in a variety of mini-games, including versions of poker and blackjack. Australia has a high rate of gambling problems with poker machines ("pokies"), so when a mother discovered her nine-year-old playing online poker to feed his virtual pet, she approached Today Tonight claiming McDonalds was setting her son up for a life of gambling addiction.

TT aired the story Parents not McHappy over pokie toy and the Neopets message boards went nuts. Meanwhile McDonalds heavied Neopets into banning Australians from the gambling games. Today Tonight must have received a lot of hate mail because the next night came Neopet players fight McDonalds ban, featuring interviews with adult Neopets addicts. But this only increased the outrage on the Neopets boards - they're now trying to squash rumors of McDonalds withdrawing sponsorship altogether, and Neopets shutting down."


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