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Rules For Internet Cafe’s Considered

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Rules for Internet cafe’s considered

Three-hour gaming limit may be imposed

BANGKOK: -- The Information and Communications Technology Ministry plans to regulate Internet cafe’s catering to young customers with a proposal to require registration of such operations and set a maximum of three hours of playing time for customers under the age of 18.

Violation of the new regulations would lead to legal action by the Ministry of the Interior, said ICT Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee.

Speaking to representatives from the Mental Health Department, webmasters and private operators during a debate on the problems of computer games, Dr Surapong expressed concern over the proliferation of Internet cafe’s all over the country.

With the business still growing and problems related to it increasing, he said it was necessary to set regulations to govern the business more efficiently before the issue got out of hand and became as much of a menace as illicit drugs.

He proposed that the existing 5,670 Internet cafe’s register their businesses with the ICT, and then work closely with the ministry to set rules and regulations for customers.

One rule, he especially deemed necessary, is for customers under 18 to be limited to no more than three hours a day of computer games.

He said that this figure, based on research conducted overseas, was appropriate after studies showed that after 15 weeks of continuous play, some young players could not differentiate between games and real life.

The minister also called for the collection of additional excise tax from importers of computer games in addition to their normal tax assessment, similar to the ``sin tax'' traditionally collected on cigarettes and liquor.

He said that the ICT Ministry and the Finance Ministry were of the view that computer gaming could be considered addictive and therefore taxation on computer games should be based on each individual cafe’'s monthly revenue.

Taxes collected from computer games would be used in the ICT's Green Internet campaign, he said.

The above proposals have been forwarded to the cabinet for approval, he said.

Chalermsak Lertlobthatree, an Internet cafe operator, said the ICT's proposal should establish a clearer target and penalties in case of violations, adding that the ministry should also explain the advantages of registration as well as the disadvantages for those who refused to register with the programme.

He added that computer games were the major income earners for 70% of the Internet cafe’s in the country.

--Bangkok Post 2004-11-18

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Oh, sure. That's really going to work. Just like the rules about underage drinking have actually stopped underage kids from drinking. And I'm sure the shops will cooperate in making less money so they can give it to the government.

"Steven"

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And who will enforce it??

I can't see a shop turning away paying customers.

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