The Belgian Gaming Commission has suggested that EA, Activision Blizzard, and Valve should face criminal charges for including loot boxes in games, which they have classified as a form of gambling. They say they will allow Belgian Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, some time to meet with representatives of the companies but they won’t wait forever.
“We are going to take all preparatory measures for the drafting of police reports, but it’s not going to be tomorrow,” BGC director Peter Naessens told GamesIndustry.Biz, “There is a certain amount of time for the minister of justice, but it’s not unlimited.”
The BGC’s definition of gambling is simple: If you are paying money for something and there is an element of chance deciding what that something is, then it’s gambling. That means loot boxes, where some items are common and some are rare, are gambling.
Many other countries have said that loot boxes are not gambling as the contents have no real value but that is not a factor to the BGC, they say they items in loot boxes have a perceived value depending on how rare they are in game.
They also say that players are “lured into betting money through loot boxes with a range of techniques”. One of those techniques is the “fusion of fiction and reality”, highlighting the fact that the most expensive loot boxes in FIFA 18 are advertised with a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo, suggesting that the more you pay the greater your chance is of picking up Ron.
The BGC have published a number of guidelines including showing the odds for loot boxes, and also rapped Disney and other companies for not paying enough attention to how their I.P.s are used.