Dutch Authority Rules That Some Loot Boxes Constitute Gambling, Warns Video Game Publishers
The Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA) has ruled that some loot boxes can be considered gambling, and has given publishers a deadline of June 20 to remove such elements from their video games.
This news was brought to light by Dutch site NOS (translation via MCV and Games Industry), which reported that NGA tested ten games before coming to its conclusion, including FIFA 18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League.
NGA argues that some loot boxes contain items that hold monetary value, and can be traded outside the game. As a result, it is illegal to sell these games without a license. The authority has also asked publishers to remove “addiction sensitive” elements that gives players the feeling of “almost winning,” which encourages them to open one loot box after another in succession.
If publishers don’t respond or comply by the given deadline, NGA will move to impose fines or in extreme cases, bans.
Games Industry reports that NGA is now pushing for EU-wide legislation to tackle the issue. “There is no question of harmonization of regulations,” the authority said in a statement. “Every European regulator has its own laws and regulations. We now want to work together and act together.”
NGA believes that its ruling will help to set a precedent.