The Netherlands Says That Some Loot Boxes Are Gambling

Loot Boxes
Source: The Verge

The Netherlands Gaming Authority has published an article stating that it believes some loot boxes contravene the Betting and Gaming Act, which would class them as gambling. According to the Google Translate version of the Gaming Authority’s website, this is what they had to say:

Of the ten examined lottery boxes, four are in violation of the law. This is because coincidence determines the contents of these loot boxes. Moreover, the prizes can be traded outside the game: the prizes have economic value. It is forbidden to offer this type of games of chance without a license to the Dutch players.

At the bottom of the page, they state that those ten games were selected by their popularity on “a popular internet streaming platform”, so basically the 10 most popular games on Twitch. Though they don’t name the 10 games they’ve inspected, but Dutch broadcaster NOS outs FIFA 18, DOTA 2, PUBG and Rocket League.

Interestingly, you can only really earn money through trading items gained from loot boxes outside of these games, but the means are still there regardless. In this instance, it appears that not stopping these practices is the same as endorsing them. It would seem that these games will require a gambling license if they’re to continue in The Netherlands.

But the Authority has all loot boxes in their sights, as they’ve also decreed that all loot boxes contain elements that can cause the development of addiction. To that end, the Dutch are calling on all gaming publishers to modify loot boxes, removing things such as “‘near-profit’ effects, visual effects, the possibility to keep open loot boxes in quick succession and the like” by the 20th June. Failure to do so will result in bans and fines.

This ruling by the Dutch could have some significant impacts across the rest of Europe. If this sets a precedent that other countries in the EU, or outside of the EU but still in Europe (still not used to these post-Brexit qualifiers), then games will have no choice but to change to cater for the huge European market. Either way, the debate on loot boxes is getting even more interesting.

What do you think about the Dutch ruling? Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comments below, and check out the latest gameplay videos of The Crew 2, a game that hopefully won’t have RNG loot like its predecessor did.