Report: ESA Spent $3.9 Million in 2013 Fighting Against State and Federal Anti-Videogame Legislation, Lobbying

According to a Wall Street Journal report (membership required), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spent a considerable amount of money and effort in fighting anti-videogame laws in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Jersey – and in Oklahoma last year. Many of the bills have either died or are locked in legislative committees waiting for approval.

The ESA is also taking aim at a federal bill, according to records and a co-sponsor of the bill.

The federal bill (that has found bipartisan support) would direct the National Academy of Sciences to study both violent media and videogames, including how games affect aggression-prone children. Introduced in January, the bill was unanimously passed by the Senate Commerce Committee in July.

"Our goal is to provide answers to parents about what exposure to these violent images are doing to their children's impressionable minds and emotions," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), a co-sponsor.

Some examples of the bills the ESA has fought against: a bill in Connecticut called for a review of data on potential links between violence in the real world and video games violence, the Oklahoma bill called for a study "on videogames' relationship to obesity and aggression," a Maryland bill would have gathered testimony on the effects of violent videogames on socially withdrawn people and set up a support line for parents concerned that a child was addicted to videogames.

The ESA has deployed at least three lobbying firms and its own lobbyist to represent its interests on the Senate bill, according to public records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. According to those records, the ESA had spent $3.9 million on state and federal lobbying-related expenses of all sorts this year through Sept. 30.

Obviously not all of that lobbying cash went to fight against legislation; the trade group has plenty of other issues that are of interest to the industry and its members like tax incentives for the entertainment industry and legislation related to increasing the number of high tech visas, for example…

Source: Wall Street Journal

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