Poker deckbuilder Balatro is dealing with ratings board frustrations and delistings – Destructoid

Estimated read time 3 min read

Playstack, the publisher of popular roguelike deckbuilder Balatro confirmed on Twitter that the game has been temporarily removed from some digital storefronts due to a sudden rating change. Apparently, the UK rating board PEGI changed the rating from 3+ to 18+ overnight due to “prominent gambling imagery” which prompted the sudden delistings. The problem here is that there is literally no gambling in Balatro.

According to Playstack, they specifically addressed this topic with PEGI back in October after it was originally rated 18+. And, after some communication, PEGI changed the rating to 3+. PEGI even went as far as to assure Playstack that “we have reviewed your product and determined that the disclosure of gambling themes was unwarranted.” Playstack says that the content in Balatro has not changed since that discourse took place, so it doesn’t make much sense.

The solo developer of Balatro, LocalThunk, also responded to the rating board issue.

“I do not condone gambling (staking something personally valuable on an uncertain event) nor do I believe that Balatro contains gambling. I did add risk/reward mechanics and RNG to Balatro, but these are core mechanics to the genre at large.”

– LocalThunk, Solo Developer of Balatro

One platform not affected by this travesty is Steam, which does not carry any sort of age rating based on rating boards.

I haven’t had a chance to play just yet simply due to lack of free time at the moment, but our own Eric “The Cardmaster” Van Allen can attest that even a cursory five minutes in the world of Balatro makes it clear: this is not a game about gambling, whatsoever. This seems like a classic case of someone just glancing at a screenshot from Balatro and seeing that standard card decks are used, and there is a currency, and automatically associating it with gambling. Not a good look, PEGI.

Balatro, which has no gambling mechanics whatsoever, is currently available on PC via Steam, as well as PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch depending on your region.

Steven Mills

Staff Writer – Steven has been writing in some capacity for over a decade now. He has a passion for story focused RPG’s like the Final Fantasy franchise and ARPG’s like Diablo and Path of Exile. But really, he’s willing to try anything.

More Stories by Steven Mills

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