There’s a bit of a flutter around the ‘net today over an amendment to Illinois’ state liquor laws. Part of it prohibits marketing “alcopop” beverages to minors in video games.

I point out that games are not being “singled out” here; other venues are mentioned in the amendment. The state wants to restrain marketing of alcoholic beverages to minors.

However, the wording of the specific provision is a bit odd: “4) the display of any alcopop beverage in any videogame, theater production, or other live performances where the intended audience is primarily children.”

That seems to leave a loophole there for movies, at the least. Not that movies aimed at the kiddie market routinely feature alcoholic beverages. Or games, for that matter.

According to the Wiki, the FTC investigated marketing of alcopops twice, the last time in 2003, and concluded the target was adults mainly in their 20s: “The Commission’s investigation found no evidence of targeting underage consumers in the marketing of FMBs. Adults 21 to 29 appear to be the intended target of FMB marketing” and found that “the majority of FMB drinkers are over the age of 27.” (FMB is “flavored malt beverage”, another term for alcopop)

While there have been some outraged comments on several sites, it appears more likely games were included simply because kids play video games. Still, it’s really just fluff. Children aren’t the market for these drinks.

Reason, however, doesn’t work when there is rampant paranoia about “protecting our kids”. Underage drinking has been around far longer than alcopop beverages, and this silly law isn’t going to change a thing.

Alcopop amendment at Illinois.gov

Alcopop entry on the Wikipedia