Shortly after a decisive ruling from the Netherlands regarding several game loot boxes, the Belgium loot box ruling has come down with a similarly hard line. The decision by the country’s gaming commission names three major titles as violators of its gambling laws, and is threatening fines and imprisonment if things aren’t changed.
FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offenssive, and Overwatch have been called out for violation of Belgian gambling laws according to the findings of the Belgian Gaming Commission. The decision was based on four different criteria: being a game, with something at stake, leading to a win or a loss, and with chance playing a role.
Star Wars Battlefront II was also under the microscope, but was exempt from the commission’s rulings due to the removal of paid loot boxes.
“Paid loot boxes aren’t an inoffensive component of games which act like games that require skill,” says the commission’s director Peter Naessens. “Players are being tempted and misguided and none of the protective measures for gambling are being applied.”
As a result of the findings, the publishers of these games must make adjustments or face fines of €800.000 or up to five years of imprisonment. The charges could even be doubled if it can be proved that those who are taken advantage of were minors. There’s no timeline for when these changes must be made.
So the screws of the vice turn a few more threads to tighten around loot box practices. There are many of us who are happy to see these firm and decisive crackdowns and we’re hoping that other countries around the globe will be following suit.