Balatro temporarily removed from some digital storefronts

Balatro has been removed from some digital storefronts over a "mistaken belief" the game promotes gambling.
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LocalThunk’s newly-viral hit Balatro has been temporarily removed from some digital storefronts over concerns that it promotes gambling. As players will attest, Balatro is not a gambling-themed game – but it appears some global ratings boards have mistaken the title, and automatically re-classified it to restrict its audience.

“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 a mistaken belief that the game ‘contains prominent gambling imagery and material that instructs about gambling’,” game publisher Playstack said on Twitter / X.

Balatro does not allow or encourage gambling – and we fundamentally believe the ratings decisions is unfounded. 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.”

Read: Balatro is pushing the roguelike deckbuilder to new territory

According to Playstack, Balatro was thoroughly addressed by this ratings board in October 2023, and it was given a 3+ rating after an appeal process. It had initially been 18+ rated but after a back-and-forth, the board determined “that the disclosure of gambling themes was unwarranted.” Despite this appeal process being successful, it appears the original rating has now rebounded.

Playstack are currently working on this issue, and discussing solutions to have the game return to impacted storefronts, potentially with a temporary 18+ rating.

Those who already own the game will still be able to download and play it, regardless of store status. For everyone wishing to buy the game from an impacted storefront, it’s best to stay patient as Playstack resolves the availability issue. While frustrating, it’s unlikely this temporary removal will be able to completely stop the momentum of Balatro as it continues to build.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.