McDonald’s Neopets fans disprove gambling claim

Readers of the News section at have indicated to us that the article published on October 13, Parents outraged about McDonald’s gambling Neopets, gives a one-sided view of the Neopets phenomenon. To balance our coverage we are publishing some of the comments we have received.

The original article said that if kids don’t win enough points by gambling to feed their favorite pet, it is sent off to a virtual orphanage.

Ms. Wilson-Julkowski disproved this claim: “I have been playing Neopets for well over two years, and there is no such thing as an orphanage. Players are given an option of sending their pets to the pound??? if they no longer want them. This gives other players the option of adopting the pet. Neopets supplies free food daily for pets.”

She has also conducted her own research and concluded that the majority of games are unrelated to gambling.

“Of the nearly 160 games on the site, maybe 10 percent involve gambling. The vast majority involve skill. Players have an option of visiting the Giant Jelly or omelette once a day for free food. Players also have the option of buying from shops and selling items they have bought to earn points.”

“Over a hundred games require skill or knowledge. This does not include other contests such as the poetry, beauty, art gallery, and story writing competitions. All of these activities award points based on talent or popularity.”

“Yes, 1/5 games may seem like a lot in a society that frowns upon underage gambling. I do not visit many gambling sites, but I do know that some incorporate an online IDing system. Currently, all Neopets has is an option for selecting what age group you fall under. This will limit access to some sections of the site, like the chat boards or the mail system. Perhaps, they can fix it, so that those who select one of the under 18 groups will not have access to the gambling portions of the website.”

“If anything, I feel by using free gambling on a site like this, it teaches youngsters the potential downfalls of gambling in real life. After losing 5,000 or 10,000 virtual points, maybe they won’t be so eager to spend a few hundred dollars in a slot machine when they turn 18.”

“Neopets doesn’t encourage abandoning pets, and if you are poor, you don’t have to gamble,” wrote another Neopets player. “There are plenty of non-gambling games. If anything, it teaches kids what could happen if you gamble.” also published another article on October 18, entitled Neopets lovers fight McDonald’s gambling ban, which contains some details about Australian users being blocked from accessing gambling content at the Neopets website, along with some insights into the strategy and business model behind the Neopets phenomenon.

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