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FIFA Gambling
FIFA Gambling

Netherlands: FIFA’s Loot-Boxes “Constitutes a Violation of the Gambling Act”

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The District Court of Hauge has ruled in favor of the Netherlands Gambling Authority’s five million euros penalty against EA’s FIFA Ultimate Team loot-boxes mechanics.

The Ksa imposed the orders subject to a penalty because the popular FIFA football game contained illegal loot boxes. These loot boxes are like treasure chests. The FIFA loot boxes, for example, would contain football players that could improve the performance of the team that the player was using to play the game.

The players contained by the loot box are determined by chance, and the contents cannot be influenced. The fact that football players sometimes have a high value and that they can occasionally be traded constitutes a violation of the Gambling Act. Under Dutch law, a game of chance that allows a prize or premium to be won can only be provided if a relevant licence has been granted.

EA has denied any wrongdoing and will take the District Court sentence to the Supreme Court, as it was confirmed by an EA’s spokesperson.

“We are appealing this decision and we seek to avoid a situation impacting the ability of Dutch players to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team. Electronic Arts are deeply committed to positive play. We seek to bring choice, fairness, value, and fun to all our players in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns.”

Certainly, this kind of sentences sets a precedent, or jurisprudence in legal terms, this means that EA’s best interest is not just paying the fine, but demonstrate to the Supreme Court, that FIFA Ultimate Team loot-box mechanics cannot be constituted as gambling. The developer risk a potential ban in the region, or at least the inability to sell the game to players under 18 years old.

EA has been targeted by the whole European Union for implementing gambling mechanics in its FIFA franchise. Recently in the UK, The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry cited academic research, where it was proven a connection between, the polemic micro-transaction model often referred to as loot boxes, and gambling.

It is illegal for any child under 16 years old to take part in any form of commercial gambling”. Affirms the Committee.

The European Parliament has scrutinized the way Ultimate Team loot-boxes work and as expected, has seen the practice as a way of gambling. The study found that developers are implementing mechanics that create an “irresistible urge to play” and a “growing tension” that could only be relieved by playing.

Epic Games boss, Tim Sweeney has also openly discussed the business practice, he explains that the current trend of some developers is harming the customers, with games designed to be pay-to-win games or features the controversial loot boxes.

Source: PC Games N

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