Valve Disables Trading Loot Boxes For CS:GO And Dota 2 In Netherlands
Not long ago, the Netherlands ruled that loot boxes in games are gambling, and have been designed to get people addicted, in order to spend more money. Gaming companies had until June 20 (yesterday) to either change their game mechanics accordingly or to apply for a gambling license. Valve has restricted trading in two of its games, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, in an effort to comply with the Netherlands Gaming Authority’s rules governing loot boxes. The move disables the option for Dutch players to trade items in those games. With this, developer Valve is taking measures to comply with a new Dutch law on games and gambling legislation.
In a statement to customers, Valve said it stopped trading in CS:GO and Dota 2 for Dutch players in response to two letters from the Netherlands Gaming Authority (aka the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit), which said that “loot boxes” in those games violate the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act.
Valve communicated the decision to suspend trade in those games in a pop-up message through Steam:
The authority said it requested that game makers who offer loot boxes in their games to modify them “before mid-June,” and warned that it “may instigate enforcement action against providers of games of chance with loot boxes that do not adhere to this norm” by June 20, 2018. In April the Dutch Gaming Authority ruled that several games violated the Dutch gambling rules. It concerns games with so-called loot boxes.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority therefore calls on providers of this type of loot box to remove the addiction-sensitive elements (‘almost winning’ effects, visual effects, ability to keep opening loot boxes quickly one after the other and suchlike) from the games and to implement measures to exclude vulnerable groups or to demonstrate that the loot boxes on offer are harmless.
The Dutch Gambling Authority has plans to separate regular games and games of chance more strictly, especially to protect younger gamers from the risks of addition. Gambling licenses will only be given to non-EU companies if they have a branch office in the Netherlands and appoint an addiction prevention representative. Also a fund will be established for addiction research, treatment and prevention, into which gaming providers have to pay 0.25% of their gross gaming revenue. Companies not in compliance with the law can be fined up to € 830,000 or 10% of their world-wide revenue.