Lawmakers in Pennsylvania proposed a bill that would tax violent video games. Representative Christopher Quinn submitted House Bill 109 on January 28 with support. The 10% tax on games rated “Mature” or “Adults Only” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) would be used to fund safety measures in Pennsylvania public schools.
Quinn believes violent video games influences real-world violence and says, “This bill does not prohibit violent video games, instead it simply provides a revenue stream — it tries to recoup some of the societal costs — to help make our schools safer by taxing an industry that has been shown to lead to violence.”
The video game industry is not happy and argues:
- Video games are protected under the free speech amendment in the U.S. Constitution and prior cases have proved this, according to the Entertainment Software Association (oversees ESRB ratings). In 2011, a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children under 18 was appealed in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association by the Supreme Court.
- Many of the best-selling games of 2018 are rated “Mature”, such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. Also, very few games receive an “Adult Only” rating and many retailers refuse to carry AO rated games.
- The Entertainment Software Association released a statement about the claims of video game violence leading to real-world violence, “Numerous authorities – including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court – found that video games do not cause violence. We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home.”
What now? House Bill 109 is currently being reviewed by the Pennsylvania House Finance Committee where they’ll decide whether to refer the bill to the General Assembly for a vote.
Image Source: GameSpot