Editorial: complications of cartoons
Let’s hear a big round of applause for the Nevada Gaming Commission (flash applause sign now) for taking a stand against “cartoon” slot machines that would be seen as trying to lure children into casinos.
Behind Door No. 2, however, is the problem of trying to define what constitutes a theme aimed primarily at people under 21.
OK, so we won’t be seeing any Rugrats slot machines. Or Teletubbies. Presumably, the ban also will include “South Park” themes – a show popular among the under-21 crowd but definitely containing humor that should be considered adult.
A “Star Trek” casino in Las Vegas will be allowed to remain, and we would guess that “Star Trek” fans generally are well over 21. Perhaps well over 41, if we go back to the original TV series.
What happens if somebody wants to use a “Star Wars” theme? The original trio of movies was aimed at youngsters, but that was 20 years ago. Maybe the rule is, if it hasn’t been popular recently, it’s OK.
Then there’s the issue of rock n’ roll. Slot machines bearing the likeness of Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys definitely would be no-nos, but Carlos Santana, age 52, should feel free to endorse as many video poker machines as he might want. Except that his biggest hit this year features Rob Thomas, the lead singer for Matchbox 20, which is aimed at a younger crowd.
Oh, the complications.
Before there could be a James Bond machine (video baccarat, anyone?), there would have to be testimony about the target audience. What about an Adam Sandler slot? Are we talking literal age or emotional age of the potential audience?
We could go on and on. It should be fascinating to hear some of the arguments as game-makers try to remain on the cutting edge without slicing things too thin.