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Balatro devs say game doesn’t ‘allow or encourage gambling’ in response to takedowns  Dot Esports

Playstack Games provided an update today on why Balatro was temporarily removed from digital stores in some countries on console platforms, and when fans can expect a resolution.

The Balatro devs announced the title was temporarily removed from digital stores because of a “mistaken belief” that the game displays “gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling.” The game is a deck-building roguelike where players use illegal poker hands to earn chips and defeat enemy blinds. The title launched on Feb. 20 for Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and Steam, but if you haven’t had a chance to purchase the game yet on console, you’ll have to wait. In the meantime, Playstack Games is doing its best to reassure players the game will be back soon.

Balatro hands being played
Balatro looks easy at first, but gets difficult quickly. Image via Playstack Games

Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling, and we fundamentally believe the ratings decision is unfounded,” the devs said in their statement, and hit back against the hike in age rating that accompanied the game’s removal from digital stores. “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.”

Balatro isn’t the only title to face questions over gambling practices. In December 2023, Valve was directed to refund thousands in CS:GO skins after losing a loot box lawsuit for enabling illegal gambling. Previously, EA faced two lawsuits for promoting gambling through purchasing loot boxes. However, Balatro’s case differs from these previous disputes, as the game doesn’t feature micro-transactions or loot boxes. Accordingly, Playstack is confident the title will be back in digital stores soon.

“Please rest assured the game will be back up on sale, possibly with a temporary 18+ rating while we resolve the issue,” Playstack said. For updates on the review process, players should follow the official Playstack Games X account.

Ryan Lemay

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