Belgium Has Declared Loot Boxes are Gambling and Illegal

Doris Richards
April 25, 2018

"Paying loot boxes are not an innocent part of video games that occur as a game of skill", says director Peter Naessens.

Following Battlefront II's release on November 17, the commission examined Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Overwatch before reaching its decision to classify loot boxes with random chance as gambling.

The Belgian Gaming Commission has ruled that Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are in violation of the law, while EA's Star Wars Battlefront II got off the hook due to the removal of paid lootboxes in the game.

"The developer of Star Wars Battlefront II made some adjustments shortly after the launch, so that the system of loot boxes in that game no longer technically forms a game of chance", Geens said in his statement.

The issue has gotten serious as Competent minister Koen Geens wants to first address the gaming sectors and if not adjusted they will be fined up to 800,000 euros and five years in prison.

Last week, we reported on the Netherlands taking direct action against lootboxes and now it seems that Belgium is following suit. "If this is not properly arranged, games of chance in video games will cause great damage to people, family, and society", the nation's press release warns (translation via Google). "Mixing games and gaming, especially at a young age, is unsafe for mental health", says Minister of Justice Koen Geens in the press release. 'We have already taken numerous measures to protect minors and adults against the influence of gambling advertising. "Players are tempted and misled, and none of the protective measures for gambling are applied". There you can still effectively buy loot boxes, but you're buying in-game currency with the "gift" of a loot box. A report published by the commission describe the situation in these games as "disturbing", and says that these games are "particularly problematic for minors and gambling addicts".

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