SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s regulators on Monday cut the time players under 18 can spend online gaming to one hour of play on Fridays, weekends and holidays in response to growing concerns about gambling addiction, reported the state media.
The rules, published by the National Press and Publication Agency, said underage users could only play from 8 pm to 9 pm local time on these days, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Internet gaming companies will be banned from offering gaming services to them in any format outside these hours and must show that they have adopted real-name verification systems, said the regulatory agency, which oversees the Chinese video game market.
Previously, the country limited the total time that minors could access online games to three hours on holidays or 1.5 hours on other days.
The new rules coincide with Beijing’s crackdown on Chinese tech giants such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, which angers investors and hurts Chinese stocks traded at home and abroad.
The National Press and Publishing Agency also told Xinhua that it will increase the frequency and intensity of inspections of internet gaming companies to enforce time limits and anti-addiction systems.
(By Brenda Goh)
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