Balatro removed from stores in some countries due to unexpected age rating change

LocalThunk and Playstack are working to get Balatro back onto stores after allegations that the game promotes gambling.


Balatro is an oddly satisfying poker rogue-like where you bend the rules of the game to achieve illegal poker hands, but it doesn’t actually promote gambling or any form of illegal gaming practices. That’s what developer LocalThunk and publisher PlayStack are going to have to argue to some countries that have taken Balatro off of online stores due to a sudden and unexpected age rating change. Unfortunately, there’s no time frame on when the game will be back on the stores in affected regions due to the circumstances.

The issues affecting Balatro were addressed in a statement on the Playstack Twitter this week. According to the devs, an issue occurred when Balatro’s rating was changed from 3+ to 18+ due to perceived elements of promotion of gambling and “material that instructs about gambling,” which the devs and publisher vehemently disagree with.

LocalThunk and Playstack's statement on Balatro being removed from stores in some countries.
Balatro was removed from digital stores in some countries after the rating of the game was unexpectedly changed from 3+ to 18+ over perceived promotion of gambling.
Source: Playstack

The developers go on to say that they are especially disappointed in the deciding ratings board because they had actually interacted with the board previously before this decision was made, making a case that Balatro doesn’t have gambling elements despite being a power-based game.

Balatro has seen a lot of love recently. It’s one of the latest indie darlings of 2024 alongside games like Palworld, and has a lot of fans that have been talking non-stop about it since launch. Hopefully, LocalThunk and Playstack are capable doing what needs to be done to fix the issue so more folks around the world can enjoy what Balatro has to offer. Stay tuned for further updates as we follow this story.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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