NEW YORK • It is the smartphone game electrifying the world, but New York is taking steps to ban sex offenders from using the app to potentially prey on child victims.
Pokemon Go, developed by Google spin-off Niantic, has been downloaded more than 75 million times across the United States, and has gone viral in the rest of the world.
But Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered New York's Department of Corrections to ban nearly 3,000 registered offenders on parole from downloading, accessing or taking part in Pokemon Go as well as other Internet-enabled games.
"Protecting New York's children is priority No. 1," Mr Cuomo said.
The governor has written to the US-based game developer Niantic asking it to bar sexual predators from playing Pokemon Go.
A report from two New York state senators shows that children playing Pokemon Go have been unwittingly lured near sex offenders.
Their investigation caught 57 Pokemon characters directly outside 100 homes of registered sex offenders on probation or parole whose crimes involved child abuse or possession of child pornography in the city of New York.
DEAD AND GONE
For the people still convinced that Rhodes is still the hot spot... Let it go, mourn the loss... It's dead! GONE!
FACEBOOK USER, posting that Peg Paterson Park in Rhodes was no longer the spot for a rare Pokemon
Meanwhile, a small Sydney suburban park that attracted thousands of Australian Pokemon Go players - causing the grassy spot to turn to mud - has disappeared from the game after complaints of chaos.
Peg Paterson Park in Rhodes was particularly popular due to the regular appearance of rare Pokemon characters there.
"Weekends, particularly at night, there were up to a 1,000 to 1,500 people in the park," said Deputy Mayor Helen McCaffrey of City of Canada Bay Council.
"The grass is no longer there and residents, after 31/2 weeks, were just over it," she said of the park, which has a playground and is surrounded by tall apartment buildings.
"When a rare Pokemon was caught, there would be a cheer and cars would honk as the traffic was becoming horrific. I spoke to somebody a couple of days ago who was coming in from Penrith (45km away) to play."
The council encouraged residents to write to Niantic, asking for the park to be deleted from the game after they complained of "complete chaos" and rubbish being dumped.
"All 3 pokestops removed. Not a single soul left in the park. NOT ONE," wrote a Facebook user on Monday.
Another added: "For the people still convinced that Rhodes is still the hot spot... Let it go, mourn the loss... It's dead! GONE!"
Pokemon Go has also made its way into the US presidential campaign, with staff of both major candidates appealing to players to catch voters.
"I don't know who created Pokemon Go, but I've tried to figure out how we get them to have Pokemon Go to the polls," Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton said.
Her staff have since been looking for Pokemon hunters, hoping to divert their attention for the few minutes it takes to register to vote.
And Mrs Clinton's Republican rival Donald Trump recently posted on Facebook a parody video showing her getting hit and disappearing.