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Roguelike game Balatro removed from storefronts for “gambling” content

Balatro's publisher shared that the roguelike game has been removed from multiple online stores on the shaky grounds of gambling content.


Balatro, a roguelike deck builder with overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam, has been removed from digital game stores because of an “overnight” change to its age rating, says the publisher

Playstack calls Balatro a “poker roguelike,” wherein you can “play illegal poker hands, discover game-changing jokers, and trigger adrenaline-pumping, outrageous combos.” While the card game uses imagery connotated with gambling, no actual gambling mechanics exist.

On March 1, 2024, Playstack shared a statement on X (formerly known as Twitter), addressing the fact Balatro had been “temporarily removed” from digital storefronts in some countries for console platforms, “Presently we cannot estimate with complete confidence which stores it will be removed from, but our hope is that only a minority of stores will be affected. We are highly confident that the game will remain available on PC stores, including Steam.”

Balatro's statement on X

Playstack also confirmed, “This is not an issue with the stores themselves, however a reaction to an overnight change to Balatro’s age rating from 3+ to 18+ by a ratings board without any advance warning, due to a mistaken belief that the game ‘contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling’.”

“Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling — and we fundamentally believe the ratings decision is unfounded. Balatro was developed by someone who is staunchly anti-gambling, and painstaking care has been taken to ensure that the game does not feature gambling mechanics of any kind.”

“We are especially disappointed with the actions of the ratings board as we specifically addressed this topic with them in October, and were given a 3+ rating after it had initially been rated 18+.”

While some fans might not be able to purchase the game this weekend, Playstack is committed to resolving the issue, which hopefully won’t take too long.

For more like Balatro, check out the best new PC games or the best roguelike games while this, hopefully, gets sorted out.

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