FIFA games’ loot boxes held as gambling in the Netherlands

FIFA games face a crisis, as the Netherlands government holds them as a form of gambling, leading to a fine of up to €5 million.

FIFA games have faced a lot of controversial opposition from communities. From choreographed gameplay to unreasonably low ratings to players, now it has gone to another level.

FIFA Ultimate Team utilizes a loot box system to make gamers buy loot boxes by online in-game microtransactions. These loot boxes contain randomized game cards, helping players to get better teams. Many countries have declared them a form of gambling, as players spend their money in such transactions without knowing the outcome.

FIFA Ultimate Team: A major stop

Netherlands’ Gambling Authority (KSA) started actions against FUT, stating that the loot boxes violated the Netherlands Betting and Gambling Act. The KSA released its decision to fine EA games in 2019, but now, it has been confirmed by Hague’s district court.

This is definitely a major drawback for EA, given FUT’s part in its annual revenue. According to a report, FIFA brought $1.5 billion for EA, out of the $5.5 billion for 2020. Gaming analysts believe that much of the revenue comes from purchasing loot boxes by players in games.

The country manager for EA Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg), Dirk Scholing told PCGamesN in a statement:

 “Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years and as such, we are disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community. We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way.”

He said that EA remained “deeply committed to positive play,” seeking “to bring choice, fairness, value, and fun to all our players.” The company will “remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions.”

Scholing reiterated, “We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way.” He confirmed that they would appeal the court’s decision. He assured that EA would find a way to make an impact on Dutch gamers better and comfortable.

Huge fines: Will they stop loot boxes?

The court imposed a fine of €500,000 per week for EA till it adheres to the rules. The maximum possible fine to be imposed will be up to €5 million. The court gave a window of three weeks to follow the rules and avoid loot boxes.

The court heled that a weekly €250,000 fine will be charged against both EA and its Swiss subsidiary, responsible for FIFA’s sale, for a total of €500,000 a week.

Many nations have taken a stride in classifying game loot boxes as a form of gambling, particularly in Europe. The United Kingdom has taken a firm stand against loot boxes and advocates against its usage by children. Belgium government made EA scrap FIFA points in January 2019, after conducting a criminal investigation in 2018.

Image courtesy of icemanphotos/Shutterstock

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