EA under Criminal Investigation by Belgium Government over Illegal FIFA Lootboxes

Judy Cobb
September 12, 2018

EA doesn't consider loot boxes or its team packs in Federation Internationale de Football Association gambling. Again, the commission's opinion is still that loot boxes are legally regarded as gambling since an unregulated player base is not given certainty on which rare items will be received from the box.

As reported by Belgian publication Metro, via Google translate, The Brussels public prosecutor's office is now considering a criminal investigation against EA for its adamant stance on keeping the practice.

"Paid loot boxes aren't an inoffensive component of games which act like games that require skill", director of the Belgian Gaming Commission, Peter Naessens, said back in April of this year. Blizzard turned off paid loot boxes outright in Belgium, while 2K followed suit for National Basketball Association 2K, but complained bitterly about it and had the gall to ask fans to petition the Belgian government to change their minds.

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GamesIndustryBiz reports that if EA wins the court challenge under existing gambling law, the BGC will seek to change the law to ensure loot boxes are included in its coverage.

"As you might imagine, we're working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, many of whom we've been working with for some time and have evaluated and established that programs like "FIFA Ultimate Team" are not gambling", Wilson said. Wilson went on to claim that its "loot boxes" were not equivalent to gambling as there is no way to cash out or sell loot items for real/virtual currency. EA has opted to ignore these warnings, however, resulting in this criminal investigation.

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