Last week, Belgium’s Gaming Commission launched an investigation on loot boxes, worried that the nature of the boxes constitute as a form of gambling. Today, they’ve come to a decision–in Belgium, loot boxes are considered a form of gambling. This information comes to us from the Belgian site VTM News, but PC Gamer has translated the article for English speaking audiences to read.
Here is the key translated quote, from PC Gamer:
“The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” the Gaming Commission declared. Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens also weighed in, saying, “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”
Geens hopes that all micro-transactions where you don’t know exactly what you’re getting will be banned in all of Europe. That doesn’t mean all micro-transactions or season passes, but the randomized nature of loot boxes are what brings the item to the status of gambling.
Belgium is not the first country investigating loot boxes in Europe. The Netherlands are also looking into the nature of loot boxes. Here is the latest update on the Dutch investigation:
Dutch website NU.nl has reported that authorities in Netherlands are now investigating whether video games with loot boxes can be considered games of chance. This news comes hot on the heels of publisher Electronic Arts pulling the microtransactions until further notice, and the Belgian Gaming Commission announcing that it’s launching an investigation of its own into loot boxes.
In Netherlands, gambling games are subject to licensing but the country currently doesn’t have a licensing system in place for online gambling games.
What do you think of Belgium’s decision?