The Netherlands Gaming Authority has ruled that the FIFA’s Ultimate Team Packs are a breach of there gambling laws. EA argued that as the packs have no value outside the game and they cannot be exchanged for cash they were not breaching the rules, but this was dismissed by the Judge.
EA have three weeks to take the packs out of the game if they are to avoid any fines and have said they are “disappointed” in the decision.
We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and trying to avoid a situation that will impact the ability of Dutch players to play FIFA Ultimate Team in full.
Belgium was one of the first countries to ban loot boxes which caused Nintendo to close down two of its mobile titles in the country, EA removing FIFA Points from sale, Blizzard removing the option to buy loot boxes with real money, and 2K turning off the option to buy packs in NBA 2K. There has been a growing number of governments that have begun focusing on the impact of loot boxes with both Australia and the US among those nations.
Here the UK the House of Lords has issued a report on the subject of loot boxes in videogames, and has concluded that loot boxes should be classed as gambling. The report also states that this classification should happen immediately. In June the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport put out a call for evidence as it continued to investigate whether loot boxes should be considered gambling. Back in September 2019, the DCMS recommended that loot boxes get classed as gambling but no legislation as been passed to incorporate those recommendations. In the report and a statement accompanying it the House of Lords said:
“If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling…The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation.”