Netherlands: EA has to remove loot boxes from FIFA


The Dutch Gaming Authority (Ksa) classified the Lootboxes in EA’s FIFA as illegal online gambling. The players drawn from the loot boxes for the “Ultimate Team” are not known in advance. Purchased players can also be sold to third parties for an in-game currency, the Ksa justified its classification and last year imposed a fine of 250,000 euros per week and a maximum of 5 million euros.

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The fine is directed, loud nuboth against EA’s Swiss subsidiary, which is responsible for the sale of FIFA, and against the parent company and can therefore amount to 500,000 euros per week and a maximum of 10 million euros.

EA then filed a complaint with the court. According to the company, it is not a separate game of chance, as the loot boxes are inextricably linked to the game and the content only has a value within the game. The contents of the loot boxes could not be converted into money, EA emphasized in the explanation. Lootboxes in FIFA from EA can be purchased with earned in-game currency or for real money in the game.

A judge from The Hague dismissed EA’s objections on Thursday. If the company wants to avoid the fines, it must deactivate the loot boxes within three weeks, according to a report from nu. The reasoning states: “The Ksa rightly came to the conclusion that the definition of games of chance within the meaning of the Betting and Gambling Act was met”. Given this qualification and the ban on offering online games of chance without a license, the Ksa is entitled to continue with the enforcement, it is said in the rationale continue.

EA is disappointed with the decision and does not believe that its own products and services violate the gambling laws in any way, according to EA’s statement in the report. They want to appeal and try to allow Dutch players to fully play FIFA Ultimate Team.

In Belgium, the company finally gave in to the dispute over the FIFA loot boxes in January 2019 and removed the option to buy loot boxes for real money. The Ksa justifies its approach, however, by the possibility of reselling players for in-game currency. Should EA file an objection against the decision of the court in The Hague, the Lootbox situation has not yet been finally clarified.


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