The Netherlands District Court ruled against EA this week – the company should remove loot boxes from FIFA games in the country. Otherwise, she and her division Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl will have to pay € 5 million.
The case concerned Ultimate Team Kits, which the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Ksa) considers to be a form of gambling. EA itself justified loot boxes by saying that kits cannot be converted into value and there is no scientific evidence linking the discovery of new players to gambling addiction.
The court ruled that there are ways to profit from the kits, and people can only play the Ultimate Team player discovery like gambling. The judges also ruled that there was no need to prove that every new gambling game causes problems, since the Law on Betting and Gaming is based on the assumption that all gambling carries a risk of gambling addiction. They also pointed to a growing number of scientific studies and experts warning about the dangers of loot boxes.
EA has three weeks to change the form of loot boxes in FIFA, otherwise both companies will receive fines of € 250,000 each. The maximum amount is € 5 million. At the same time, the publisher plans to appeal the court decision and will do so in the near future.
“We do not believe that our products and services are in any way in violation of gambling laws. We will appeal this decision and will try to avoid a situation where Dutch players will not be able to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate”.
Now in Europe there is an active “war” with loot boxes, but the authorities of Great Britain, the Netherlands and France are most active.