Belgium declares that loot boxes are gambling, which makes them illegal
Even though other countries like the US and UK have trouble classifying loot boxes, that doesn’t appear to be an issue in Belgium. The investigation looked at Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, finding only that Battlefront 2 weren’t in violation because that title had removed loot boxes. The justification for classifying those games as in violation hinges on the fact that they contain games of chance with undisclosed odds.
According to a release from Minister of Justice Koen Greens games like FIFA 18, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch violate law within the country due to their loot box mechanics. And if that name sounds familiar to you, it should, Greens is one of the primary drivers behind the initial investigation into loot boxes following the hullabaloo over loot boxes Shadow of War and Star Wars Battlefront II.
Greens had the following to say on the matter of loot boxes in games:
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.
Thus another nail hits the coffin of loot boxes and predatory practices in gaming. Although it must be said that the next phase of enforcement will be much tougher. Now a dialogue between game publishers, developers and the Belgian government will begin on how to make sure games are brought into compliance with the law.
Greens said that publishers who were still non-compliant could risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros.
It’s not clear, what the exact outcome will be, but it definitely seems like loot boxes are in for a rough ride.
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