Belgium Officially Declares Loot Boxes Gambling And Illegal
The Belgian Gaming Commission looked at Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and found only Star Wars was not in violation of the country’s gambling legislation – and that’s only because EA stripped out the game’s loot boxes after its launch debacle.
As reported by Belgian paper De Standard, the Commission has concluded that in order for a game to be regarded as gambling, a title has to fulfill 4 requirements: it has to be a game, with a certain stake, which leads to either win or loss for the player, and coincidence has to play a role.
Blizzard’s Overwatch, EA’s FIFA 18 and Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive all meet these requirements, and according to the Belgian Gaming Commission, lootboxes in these games are illegal. “Paid loot boxes aren’t an inoffensive component of games which act like games that require skill”, director of the Belgian Gaming Commission, Peter Naessens, said:
Players are being tempted and misguided and none of the protective measures for gambling are being applied.
A statement from Minister of Justice Koen Geens said FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were therefore illegal and demanded their loot boxes removed. If they’re not, the publishers:
risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros
When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled, Greens added.
Last week, the Dutch Gaming Commission Dutch Gaming Authority Officially Takes Action Against Loot Boxes due to the use of lootboxes, although the Dutch commission has ruled that lootboxes are only a problem if its contents can be sold. Publishers of the games in question have been given 8 weeks to implement changes before enforcement actions are being taken.