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house Bill H.R. 287

Banning the Sale of Violent Video Games to Kids

Argument in favor

Video game ratings are currently voluntarily, which means retailers are legally allowed to sell violent, inappropriate games to children. This bill would close that loophole and protect children.

Argument opposed

Virtually all video games are labelled with a maturity rating, that are already strictly enforced in the industry. This bill is a redundant waste of money and enforcement time.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Consumer Protection and Commerce
    IntroducedJanuary 15th, 2013

What is House Bill H.R. 287?

This bill would prohibit the sale or rental of video games that don’t bear a label with an age-based content rating.

If enacted, this bill would make it illegal for individuals to sell or rent “adults only” video games to customers who are under the age of 18, or “mature” games to customers under 17.

Violators would be subject to penalties of up to $,5000 per infraction. Age-ratings for video games are established by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), and the Federal Trade Commission is charged with enforcing them.


Kids who play mature/adult-rated video games, video game retailers, video game companies, parents, the ESRB, and the FTC.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 287

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In Depth:

Bill sponsors argue that more serious enforcement of the ESRB rating system is necessary to protect children from exposure to video games containing graphic violence and sexual content:

“In a world of rapidly changing technology, parents deserve every resource available to evaluate programming to which their children might be exposed.”

Opponents of this bill will likely point out that it is treating a negligible problem. According to a recent FTC survey, just 13 percent of minors were able to purchase video games rated Mature or higher from retailers. This is compared to the 38 percent of minors who were able to buy tickets to R-rated movies, and the 64 percent who had no trouble buying CD’s with a Parental Advisory label.


Photo Credit: (Wikimedia user: ESRB Rating Brochure)

Photo Credit: (Wikimedia user ESRB)

Photo Credit: (Time Magazine)

Photo Credit: (Youtube)


Bill Sponsor Representative Jim Matheson (R-UT) Press Release

USA Today

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Seth W.)


Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act

Official Title

To require ratings label on video games and to prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors.

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