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EA refuses to back down on loot box ban in Belgium

Over the last couple of months, several big gaming publishers, namely Valve, Blizzard and 2K Games, have all given up a substantial amount of income in online transactions from both Belgian and Dutch players. This comes as a result of a loot box ban issued by the Kansspelcommissie (gaming commission) that decrees all forms of online gambling must be removed from video games.

From the outset of the commission’s ruling, they have been very clear on the severity of the punishment if major publishers did not comply with the mandate. The punishment could include both a severe fine, and actual time behind bars for members of the company. According to NAG online who received correspondence with the commission, the fine could be as much as 10% of the company’s total gross annual profit.

Well, according to nieuwsblad.be, EA seems willing to risk this punishment as they have refused to remove certain loot box options and virtual surprise boxes in both FIFA 18 and FIFA 19. This refusal seems to come directly from CEO Andrew Wilson who states that the aforementioned loot box options do not constitute gambling. He argues that players know exactly how much loot they are getting, before comparing it to the Panini football stickers that some enthusiasts collect and trade.

A member of the commission, Peter Naessens, however, is not convinced, and will proceed to meet EA before a formal court hearing. 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. From here, the final outcome will be decided by a judge.

You can find the original story here.