Gaming Lootboxes in FIFA now officially banned in The Netherlands by Dutch Government agency, classified as online gambling

tom_mai78101

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In 2019, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit, Ksa) imposed an administrative order subject to a penalty of up to 5 million euros on Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl each for violating the Gambling Act through its ‘Packs’ in the FIFA video game. The District Court of The Hague recently ruled in favour of the Ksa in this matter. The judgment was published today.

The Ksa imposed the orders subject to a penalty because the popular FIFA football game contained illegal loot boxes. These loot boxes are like treasure chests. The FIFA loot boxes, for example, would contain football players that could improve the performance of the team that the player was using to play the game. The players contained by the loot box are determined by chance, and the contents cannot be influenced. The fact that football players sometimes have a high value and that they can occasionally be traded constitutes a violation of the Gambling Act. Under Dutch law, a game of chance that allows a prize or premium to be won can only be provided if a relevant licence has been granted.

A study carried out by the Ksa in 2018 found that there may be a correlation between playing games that incorporate loot boxes and development of an addiction to gambling. Chairmen René Jansen: ‘The Ksa believes it is crucial to shield vulnerable groups, such as minors, from exposure to gambling. For that reason, the Ksa supports a strict separation between gaming and gambling. Gamers are often young and therefore particularly susceptible to developing an addiction. As such, gambling elements have no place in games.’

Following the publication of the study, the Ksa called on companies in the gaming industry to adapt their games so they were no longer infringing the Gambling Act. A number of companies heeded the Ksa’s call. However, Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl did not.


Read more here. (Kansspelautoriteit, The Netherlands)
 
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