PEGI says NBA 2K20’s casino-themed trailer doesn’t count as gambling

PEGI has responded to a concern about a recent NBA 2K20 trailer

A recent trailer for upcoming NBA 2K20’s MyTeam mode has had some people wondering whether it was for the game or a casino ad, including quite a bit of gambling imagery, like casino-style mini games. Now, a question about the game has been put to videogame content rating company PEGI – and it’s said it doesn’t count as gambling under its current criteria, though it’s “very aware it may get too close for comfort for some people” in response.

As reported by Eurogamer, PEGI has responded in an email to a concern raised with them about the age rating applied to the game by the organisation (PEGI 3) following “recent controversy” over the trailer. The response from the company, posted on Reddit and verified as legitimate with PEGI by Eurogamer, notes the “controversy” caused by the trailer, but explains why it doesn’t feel that the game “is triggering the gambling descriptor in the PEGI system” at this time.

The reply from PEGI, which you can read in full below, says “we have seen the announcement trailer of NBA 2K20 and noticed the controversy it has caused. We feel it is important to carefully explain when certain content is triggering the gambling descriptor in the PEGI system, but also to show when it does not at this moment.”

It explains, “a videogame 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.”

“The game must actually teach the player how to gamble or bet and/or encourage the player to want to gamble or bet for money in real life.” PEGI goes on to explain that “for example, this will include games that teach the player how to play card games that are usually played for money or how to play the odds in horse racing.”

PEGI defends NBA 2K20 rating from r/Games

However, the organisation says that it can only comment on the “publicly available” trailer, and that it’s “important to stress that the controversial imagery played a central role in the trailer, but it may not necessarily do so in the game, which has not yet been released.” The differences between  teaching the viewer how “to gamble for money in a casino”, and the trailer’s use of the mechanics for things like character and item selection, mean that the company is currently unable to apply the gambling descriptor, it says.

PEGI adds, though, that it’s “very aware that it may get too close for comfort for some people, and that is part of an internal discussion that PEGI is having for the moment. The games industry is evolving constantly (and rapidly in recent years). As a rating organisation, we need to ensure that these developments are reflected in our classification criteria.”

The relevant trailer now appears to be unavailable on the 2K UK YouTube channel, though it’s still live on the NBA 2K channel at the time of writing. Comments under the trailer reflect some of the concerns viewers have had about its gambling imagery, with some raising questions about the game being available or marketed to children.