ELSPA has reassured the trade that the PEGI ratings system’s ascent to become law is still on track – despite the discovery that current age classification is legally unenforceable.
A recent review of the 25 year-old Video Recordings Act discovered that the selling of adult videos and games to minors was never a legal offence.
The shock news was due to the Conservative Government in 1984 neglecting to submit the Act to the European Commission. It failed to spot the blunder during subsequent official reviews in 1993 and 1994.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport admitted to MCV that it had resubmitted the act to the EU – but that it would take at least three months to become ratified.
However, ELSPA director general Mike Rawlinson told MCV that he was confident the blunder would not affect the legal implementation of the PEGI system.
“We have been informed by the Government that the timetable for the introduction of PEGI as the legal system of video games classification will not be adversely affected by this error,” he said.
“We fully expect legislation to be introduced in the Queen’s speech in November and for the law to be passed by the next general election.”
ELSPA this week called on the Government to close the new ‘loophole’ allowing retailers to sell adult games to minors without fear of legal reproach “as soon as possible”.
“The discovery that the Video Recordings Act is not enforceable is obviously very surprising. In the interest of child safety it is essential that this loophole is closed as soon as possible,” said Rawlinson.
"In this respect the video games industry will do all it can to support and assist the Government to that effect.
“ELSPA will therefore advise our members to continue to forward games to be rated as per the current agreement while the legal issues are being resolved.”