New Illinois Law Bars Alcopops From Kid-centric Games

In Illinois, a new law restricts certain content in video games.

However, unlike the 2005 game violence law championed by recently-indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the video game industry is unlikely to mount a legal challenge in this case.

The new measure, aimed at keeping alcopop beverages away from would-be underage drinkers, bars their depiction in games whose audience is primarily children. Here’s the language from SB2472:

No entity may advertise, promote, or market any alcopop beverages toward children. Advertise, promote, or market includes, but is not limited to the following… (4) the display of any alcopop beverage in any videogame, theater production, or other live performances where the intended audience is primarily children.

As a practical matter, the wording of the new law seems to indicate that it would only come into play with games rated T and under. Historically, we can’t recall any commercially-produced games featuring alcopops.

Via: GameCulture

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  1. mr_mlk says:

    I’m waiting for a law that REQUIRES naked skydiving during all firework displays.

    — Add a marker to the start of your signature.

  2. Mr. Stodern says:

    Yay, yet another useless fucking law.

    That’s it. Illinois has just officially joined my list of places on this planet that I will never visit.

  3. CarsAreScary says:

    I’m still waiting for that law that states no naked skydiving during a 4th of July fireworks show.

  4. Bigman-K says:

    I can understand this bill in the sense that a Doria the Explorer video game shouldn’t have a wine cooler in the background but could the bill cover a game with mere alcohol references in it or uses of alcohol as part of the gameplay. There are plenty of Teen rated games with alcohol in it and a ban on those games solely because of alcohol referneces or uses in it would be a form of content regulation and therefore unconstitutional even when it comes to minors as minors do have First Amendment rights. The only case i could see it being o.k. is if it were advertisment related in the sense that it was in the game solely as a way to get kids to try and drink it.

    I guess it’s all in the way the bill is worded. It it’s too vague or overtly broad in that it targets all games with alcohol regardless of context, i believe it’s unconstitutional.

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  5. TBoneTony says:

    At least they are not trying to target M rated games with this law,

    Also it is best to call Alcohol as Sodapop for FireWater…

    Something like that.

    Or Happy Juice…

    I am trying to come up with fictional names that game companies can use if they suddenly, but hopefully not, get caught up in this law in this single state.


  6. TBoneTony says:

    Lets see,

    there are also Alcohol sponsors at all the major sporting events around various parts of the world…

    There is Beer sponsorship in some of my fav sports as I was growing up, yet I don’t really like having beer because of the bitter taste that I felt on my 18th brithday.

    I wonder when will society just face the fact that Alcohol has been part of our society and even though it has been both a positive and negative part of our society, we should just talk more about responsible drinking instead of posing toothless laws onto everyone for the sake of tax dollars and trying to point the finger of blame onto other people.

    that is just my view…

  7. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Also, they are not saying that all games are for kids. They are tzargeting games whose primary audience is children. THat means anything T or under. M rated games whose target are not primarily children will not be affected by this law.

    E. Zachary Knight
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  8. NovaBlack says:

    yeah but surely condom advertising would help prevent

    pregnancy…. so why shouldnt they be allowed. Its not the same as advertising alcohol.

  9. NovaBlack says:

    um.. correct me if im wrong.. but this law doesnt actually single out games…

    In Illinois, you can’t market these things at live performances or concerts or pretty mcuh anything "where the intended audience is primarily children" either.

    Although that does bring us back to the point that the primary audience of games isnt children anyway.. hmmmm lol

    Just thought its important to realise that its not just games being singled out here.




  10. Wolvenmoon says:

    To put it bluntly a lot of these things were specifically marketted towards teens, though the companies would never admit it. Requiring them to show alcohol content and be labeled as alcoholic drinks,a dn requiring them to not advertise at schools, etc is entirely reasonable.


    Unfortunately some dickhead probably wasn’t thinking when he added the other stuff.

  11. Wolvenmoon says:

    What’s absolutely hilarious are that condom commercials are still allowed, and I have to say, the consequences of getting a girl pregnant are much much much more dire for the kid than if he gets drunk, unless he gets behind the wheel drunk, then things can get pretty nasty.

    If bud commercials weren’t so effing hilarious, I’d be for flat out banning alcohol commercials in their entirety, or at least ban them on channels (read, not times on a channel, but the entire channel itself) where the primary demographic are people under the age of 21, same thing with movies and games. Anything else is flat out marketing to that age group.


    Edit: I’m not for censoring historical authenticity or for pretending alcohol doesn’t exist. I’m speaking strictly of commercials for modern day booze on teen/young adult channels. In games, it hasn’t been specific brands nor really advertisements for it.

  12. Orange Soda says:

    When I read "alcopops", I thought it was some sort of frozen booze treat. Which, if that were the case, would make this law even weirder.

  13. jccalhoun says:

    WTF?  Nice to see that there’s nothing better for the Illinois government to be converned about.  This is totally uninforceable and almost certainly unconstitutional.  We aren’t talking about the actual use of alcohol but rather the depiction of it.  Who is to say that a game is designed for kids or not?  Just because it has a T rating doesn’t mean it is meant for teens to play it.


    Here’s the article’s description of the bill:

    Alcohol is also at the center of another law which took effect on Thursday. SB2472 restricts advertising alcohol to young adults and also requires that items such as “alcopops” or flavored malt beverages be labeled indicating the alcohol content. The bill also places limits on where alcohol can be advertised, banning billboards within 500 feet of a school, public park, amusement park and churches. In addition, alcopop beverages can’t be displayed in any video game, theater or live performance where the audience is primarily made up of children.

    Here’s the bill:



  14. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Tharters are trying to open up to more consumers so some are starting to offer alcholic bevrages as do soem stores.  the trem alcopops refers to the frufru bottled drinks that have 1-5% alcohol in it and not overly bitter.

    Shearing/Downloading will never be a mainstream market.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys

  15. dan888 says:

    Games in the Harvest Moon series, which typically recieves an E rating, will generally have alcohol in it.

  16. Karsten Aaen says:


    Wouldn’t the use of alcohol and tobacco automatically make sure that the game gets a Mature rating (17+) from the ESRB?

    The interesting thing is that you’re barred from making and showing a play that deals with the consequenses 12-17 year olds face when they drink these alcopops e.g. Bacardi Breezers. Or even an advert on TV telling people not to drink these -ehm- things…

    It says ‘any live performance’ so I guess tv-adverts and cinemas are ok? Or does this mean that films showing in cinemas in Illinois can’t have alcopops or beers in them anymore? Because of the children?

    I don’t know how it is in the US, but here in Denmarl people can buy beer (real beer) and wine at the cinema; maybe even drinks, too? Here in Denmark regular convient stores sell beer, wine and yes, alcopops as well as bread, milk, butter, cabbage etc.

    I’m playing The Witcher at the moment; there are alcoholic bevarages in them; strong alcohol and week alcohol. It is called something else, but in the description it is clearly marked ‘red wine’, ‘brandy’ or ‘whiskey’. No alcopops – as far as I can tell; the games is rated Mature for a reason, though.

    Neverwinter Nights 2 is rated Teen and has a listing of ‘alcohol reference’; must be mead, I think.
    However mead is a weak form a alcohol as I remember it. And NWN2 and D&D are supposed to mimick medieval times (in Europe) a time in which people actually drank (light) beer or (white) beer; beers that had an alcohol percentage of maybe 1,2%-2,4% (or lower). The water was too contaminated, they had to drink beer…





  17. GoodRobotUs says:

    Do cinemas and stores even sell alcopops?

    I can understand the law, but I’m not certain how they’d expect something like a cinema, which may have anything from a Disney Movie to the latest edition of Saw, to regulate something like that if they did.

    Some movies are intended for children, but others most certainly are not, what if there’s a movie, aimed at older viewers called ‘Keg Party!’, Does this mean that that cinemas cannot display the poster because it has alcoholic references and it is a place where children might be?


    It’s not a bad law, I’m just a bit confused about the enforcement of it.

  18. Faceless Clock says:

    The law obviously means marketing, because if Illionis actually tried to interpret the law as saying "anything that could have be viewed by a large number of children can’t have ‘alcopops’ anywhere in it" the law would be unconstitutional.

    The Honest Game –

  19. Wolvenmoon says:

    Before anyone starts randomly griping about this, think of it this way…


    Teenagers and children are much more likely to be attracted to alcopop drinks-which are primarily made to market to underage drinkers, but this isn’t said because that would be illegal (much like joe camel isn’t meant to get young people smoking)-but not so much other things depicted in games.

    I do think this is appropriate in some ways, but unfortunately in the world of politics it’ll be used as a foot in the door to push it too far. I would have wrote this type of content as content harmful to children, and required the same things an M rating does. While not an outright ban, it does achieve the same effect without letting in more, potentially harmful legislation.

  20. beemoh says:

     If we ignore what this is- the Illinois lawmakers saying that all games are for kids- surely this can only apply to active product placement, and not actual content?

    Unless they’re seriously going to expect schools putting on a "theater production, or other live performance" about the dangers of alcohol to pretend an entire type of drink doesn’t exist?


  21. Arell says:

    I wasn’t so much talking about just this one bill, but the general perception of violence, sex, and controlled sudstances (like alcohol) being displayed in games aimed at children.  I see a lot of people rant and rave that the Americans have it backwards, that they condone violence but fear things like sex and drugs.  That simply isn’t true.  The Americans don’t look at it from which is worse in real life, but which is more likely to be emulated by an impressionable tween.  Violence is low on the "imitatable meter," while sex and alcohol are high (because they’re good and fun and everyone likes them).

    But I’m not disagreeing with you’re post.  You are correct in that it is easier to pass a bill unchallenged if it only pertains to alcopop, than if it were combined with other things like violence.  Alcohol advertising is viewed seperately.

  22. halfcuban says:

    Alcohol advertising also doesn’t have First Amendment protection, and it can be heavily regulated if governments choose to do so. And theres no exceptionally good reason to try and combine an uncontroversial, sure to pass amendment like this one, to some sort of broader bill about media violence or media regulation.

  23. halfcuban says:

    Actually, the FTC has gotten a lot of flack about its lax attitude towards beer companies and their advertising methods. But beer companies, and their distributors and retail vendors, are exceptionally well-heeled, and the fact that they employ thousands of workers (and often Union labor) means their appeal cuts across both parties politically. Raising beer taxes in a state or on the federal level is damn near impossible, unlike tobacco, which is far more convenient.

    Reading responses here though, I think people misunderstand the multi-headed nature of government bureaucracy, or legislation in general. This bill clearly is an attempt at amending an Illinois alcohol law, and the videogame line is relatively minor, and the fact that it doesn’t say anything about, as someone mentions above, methods of torture or WMD is because the bill isn’t addressing videogame violence. It’s an amendment to alcohol regulations.

    It seems oftentime a legislative body writes a bill dealing with videogames, everyone roars about other things they could be doing. Which is not an unfair criticism; but legislative bodies CAN walk and chew gum at the same time, and at any given points there are dozens, if not hundreds, of bills floating around and making its way through the organs of a state legislature or the halls of Congress, many of which often do address the more pressing concerns people raise.

  24. Overcast says:

    Oh, but booze commercials on TV are ok.

    Heck, just watch the SuperBowl, you’ll see 150 beer commercials an hour.

  25. Arell says:

    It actually makes sense if you think about it (from their perspective).  What are the chances that a 12 year old is going to be influenced into wanting to use biological or nuclear weapons, torture devices, and such, and then be able to get their hands on them?  None.  As for military weapons (guns), most kids know there are serious ramifications for killing someone.  It’s a big deal, and they know it is as wrong as you can get.  Severe punishment to follow.  That’s why many of us gamers think it is absurd when someone tries to blame games for violence, because the likelyhood that they are simply emulating what they saw is pretty low.  Something else must be wrong with a kid to think shooting someone is funny or cool.

    On the other hand, drinking alcohol isn’t a big deal.  Mom and Dad do it.  Very happy sports guys on tv do it.  Women in bikinis practically have sex with the can in beer ads.  Drinking = good.  So the chances of emulation by young kids goes up.  It’s the same thing with sex.  Sex is awesome, everyone likes sex, everyone is expected to eventually have sex.  So if you bombard a child with sexual images, they’re more likely to do something stupid at an early age, and then you’ve got a teen mother at 14.

    I’m not saying it’s right, I just understand how they got to this seemingly strange dichonomy between allowing violence but restricting minor things like alcohol and sex.

    As for the article, I am a bit wary of such a thing, even if the gaming industry is not.  There are T rated games with alcohol in them, if not "alcopop" specifically.  Many fantasy RPGs have mead and wine and such.  Even sake.

  26. Spartan says:

    Hmmmm… Let me see if I understand this correctly…

    Alcoholic oriented beverages are illegal BUT , biological, chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction, medieval torture deceives, military weapons and other such devices are O.K. WTF? We live in a twisted world to be sure…   


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  27. ZippyDSMlee says:

    PC zero thought logic at work, CHildern must be protected from questionable behavior…all behavior is questionable , LOGIC OVERLAOD LOGIC OVERLOAD!!………THUS CHILDERN MUST DIE!


    Get a cule its not soscitys job to nanny kids, manage adults perhaps…but not nanny …


    on 2nd thought scratch that idea and ban the advertisement of everything to children!!

    Shearing/Downloading will never be a mainstream market.

    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes
    of transportation of story and thought, to take them from
    society and you create a society of children and nannys

  28. strathmeyer says:

    Much less kids games. It’s like they aren’t even pretending to not be completely morally bankrupt anymore.

  29. TK n Happy Ness says:

    I’ve never heard of Alcopops either.


    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  30. DarkSaber says:

    Alcopops are childrens training booze.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  31. HarmlessBunny says:

    I’m going to have to agree with GP on this one, I can’t think of any game that would have featured ‘alco-pops’. Now I remember the game Yakuza actually featured real world whiskey’s and the what not, but that was an M rated game 😛  Can they name a game that explicitly featured the said drinks? Sounds like a waste of paper and time to me…

  32. Chaltab says:

    How do they expect to enforce this? Even if an E or T-Rated game had alcopop beverages in it for some reason, it would still be available in the OTHER forty-nine states.

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