While Netherlands did not name the games, Belgium revealed that Overwatch, FIFA 18, and CS:GO have been found in violation of the country’s gambling laws.
It all started after EA’s Battlefront II. The players were forced to pay more to unlock characters event though had bought the game, which was pretty expensive.
Many countries and politicians took note of the incident and decided to take a stance against loot boxes. And two of the countries, Belgium and Netherlands, have ruled that loot boxes violate their gambling laws.
Netherlands studied loot boxes in 10 games, out of which four were found to be violating their laws. Meanwhile Belgium studied four games, three of which were in violation of the laws. The games are Overwatch, FIFA 18 and CS:GO. But the irony is, the fourth game they studied was Battlefront II, which put the domino effect in motion. The controversial game wasn’t found violating any laws after EA restructured the progression and removed the premium crystals.
“Four out of ten loot boxes, treasure boxes in games, are prohibited according to the Betting and Gaming Act. There are also indications that loot boxes may trigger addiction. The Gaming Authority has reached this conclusion on the basis of its’ Investigation into lot boxes | A booty or a load. That is why the regulator calls the game sector to adjust games before mid-June”, read the Netherlands Gaming Authority’s report.
Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens has been at the helm the initiative against loot boxes since November 2017. The Belgian Gaming Commission’s report quoted him as saying, “Mixing games and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for mental health. We have already taken numerous measures to protect both minors and adults against the influence of, among other things, gambling advertising. That is why we must also ensure that children and adults are not confronted with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game. ”
While Belgium has not given a deadline to developers to make changes or removal, Netherlands has set it at June 20th.
According to The Belgian Gaming Commission, failure to comply with the laws can result in very heavy consequences. To be specific, violators can spend up to five years in prison and a fine of up to €800,000. In addition, it would be double the punishment in cases involving minors.
On the other hand, Netherlands said that they would take action against the violators. However, they revealed no further details as to what those actions could be.