Illinois Lawmakers Pass Game Ban

Gretchen Gallen
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Making swifter progress than a handful of other states aiming for the same outcome, Illinois lawmakers have passed a ban on violent and sexually explicit games.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the House voted 106-6 to prohibit the sale of such games to minors. The bill was first proposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and was approved by the Senate in early May. Blagojevich, who remains strongly in favor of the ban, is expected to sign the bill into law sometime this week.

Under the terms of the legislation, sales clerks who sell violent or sexually explicit games to individuals under the age of 18 will be fined $1,000 per incident. However, if the clerk can prove they were not aware the consumer was under age, the fine will be waived.

However, according to critics of the bill, the definition of content that is deemed "too violent or sexually explicit" for minors is not clearly defined and will be left to the discretion of store owners.

Similar legislation has met with opposition based on arguments that it impedes free speech and that determining what content is inappropriate for minors could too easily become a political hornet's nest.

States and communities that have so far considered and then rejected similar legislation include Washington state, Indianapolis, Ind. and St. Louis County, Mo.

The proposed ban comes on the heels of a new policy implemented by electronics retail outlet Best Buy that puts a similar onus of responsibility on the company's sales staff, which could face disciplinary action if they sell adult games to minors.

Best Buy's new system includes special prompts at cash registers when M-rated videos or computer games are being purchased. The prompts require the cashier to confirm the age of the customer before making a sale.