Balatro runs into rating trouble

Playstack says its roguelike card game Balatro has run into a ratings problem resulting in it being “temporarily removed from sale on a number of digital stores in some countries on console platforms.”

“This is not an issue with the stores themselves, however a reaction to an overnight change to Balatro’s age rating from 3+ to 18+ by a ratings board without any advance warning, due to the mistaken belief the game ‘contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling,'” Playstack said in a social media post.

As of this writing, Balatro appears to be available in the usual places in the US and Canada, but the UK Xbox and PlayStation stores are listing it with a PEGI 18 rating and a descriptor for “Prominent Gambling Imagery.”

The Balatro page on the Nintendo UK website has been pulled.

PEGI’s website does not list a rating for Balatro, and the organization did not immediately return a request for comment on the game’s rating.

“Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling, and we fundamentally believe the ratings decision is unfounded,” Playstack said.

“Balatro was developed by someone who is staunchly anti-gambling, and painstaking care has been taken to ensure that the game does not feature gambling mechanics of any kind.”

It added that the game received a 3+ age rating in October and specifically discussed the question of gambling themes with the board at the time. Further, the game has not changed since it received the 3+ rating.

Earlier this week, PlayStack confirmed that Balatro had become a profitable title within an hour of its release, and topped $1 million in sales after eight hours.