EA refuses to back down on loot box ban in Belgium

Belgian Government Launches Criminal Investigation Into EA Over

According to a report from Belgian website Nieuwsblad (thanks, Gamasutra), EA has refused to comply with Belgian gambling laws regarding Ultimate Team Packs in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18.

After the Belgium Gaming Commission ruled that lootboxes present in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, Overwatch, and CS: Global Offensive were in violation with the Belgian Gambling Laws, the Commission threatened with huge fines and imprisonment if a publisher failed to comply with the country's gambling laws. Even if a judge rules in EA's favour, Naessens says, "we will advocate revising the gambling law, so that we can tackle the loot boxes".

A variety of Dutch outlets including Metro and Nieuwsblad reported earlier today that the Belgian Gaming Commission is now seeking legal action against EA. He argues that players know exactly how much loot they are getting, before comparing it to the Panini football stickers that some enthusiasts collect and trade.

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Back in April you might remember that Belgium declared loot boxes were effectively gambling and therefore illegal in video games.

Valve removed CS:GO loot boxes in July after implementing a temporary workaround the month prior, while Blizzard only just caught up at the end of August following a request surrounding Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm.

The case has now been handed over to the Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office. Again, the commission's opinion is still that loot boxes are legally regarded as gambling since an unregulated player base is not given certainty on which rare items will be received from the box. Minister of Justice Koen Geens said publishers could risk prison sentences (up to five years) and fines (up to €800,000) if games with loot boxes continued to be distributed within Belgium.

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