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Florida Senate Introduces Game Restriction Legislation

The latest state to introduce legislation restricting the sale of violent games to minors is Florida, after Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla submitted Senate Bill 492 to the...
The latest state to introduce legislation restricting the sale of violent games to minors is Florida, after Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla submitted Senate Bill 492 to the Florida Senate. The bill, like others currently either under review or passed in Illinois, Michigan, and California, prohibits game retailers as well as arcade operators from allowing minors to play games tagged with special violence warnings over and above the existing ESRB ratings. The language of the bill is largely inspired by the California bill with similar language and penalties, with the main difference being the section referring to arcade games. Managers may not "allow a minor to play a video game in a video arcade, if the video game has been labeled a violent video game." Both retailers and arcade operators in violation of the bill would face $1,000 per infraction if the bill passes. The bill also attempts to specify circumstances under which games are considered violent, apparently factoring in the optional actions of a player, and commenting: "Pertinent factors in determining whether a killing depicted in a video game is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved include infliction of gratuitous violence upon the image of a victim beyond that necessary to commit the killing, needless mutilation of the image of a victim's body, and helplessness of the image of a victim." Though the Entertainment Software Association has not yet responded to SB492's introduction, the trade organization has vigorously opposed all other such legislation. The ESA is currently suing to overturn the passed bills in California and Michigan, and successfully reversed the passage of a Washington bill in 2004. The ESA is expected to offer comment on Sen. Diaz de la Portilla's bill before long.

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