Belgium Declares Loot Boxes In Video Games Are Illegal Gambling

After going through a preliminary evaluation, the Belgian Gaming Commission has ruled that loot boxes in games such as Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are considered games of chance which are subject to Belgian gaming law.

star wars loot box

Based on a statement from Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens, the games now constitute criminal violations of Belgium’s gaming legislation, and developers could be subject to prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to 800,000 euros if the loot boxes are not removed for the games. Per Justice Geens’ statement, the commission utilized four parameters to determine whether or not loot boxes in a game were considered a game of chance, if there was a game element that allowed bets to be placed, with a possible profit or loss, where chance played a roll in the outcome.

Belgium has been among the first countries to investigate loot boxes, after the launch of Star Wars Battlefront 2 and subsequent complaints on how EA had implemented the random reward system to its game. While the commission did conduct a thorough investigation on all the games mentioned previously, they had came to a conclusion that EA’s recent changes to the way the loot system functions, it will not fall under the games of chance classification anymore.

hearthstone

Justice Geens also emphasized the fact that these games are played by minors as extra concerning, noting that it might bring about the penalties becoming doubled. The commission will soon be reaching out to developers of those games to find out who should be held responsible.

The news comes just days after the Netherlands issued a similar ruling, declaring four games as games of chance and giving developers until June 20th to change or remove the loot boxes feature.

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