EA risking prosecution after refusing to comply with Belgian loot box laws

Belgian Government Launches Criminal Investigation Into EA Over

Belgian Government Launches Criminal Investigation Into EA Over "Illegal" FIFA Loot Boxes

According to a report from Belgian website Nieuwsblad (thanks, Gamasutra), EA has refused to comply with Belgian gambling laws regarding Ultimate Team Packs in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18.

Niewusblad reports that EA is now under investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor's office as requested by the Belgian Gaming Commission for this refusal to remove paid loot boxes from products.

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.

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.

EA maintains that its loot boxes are not a form of gambling.

A hot potato: Following the loot box controversy that was ignited by Star Wars Battlefront 2 late previous year, several countries and states began investigating whether these systems were a form of gambling.

Back in April you might remember that Belgium declared loot boxes were effectively gambling and therefore illegal in video games. 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. Minister of Justice Koen Geens said publishers could risk prison sentences (up to five years) and fines (up to €800,000) if games with loot boxes continued to be distributed within Belgium. "And we don't believe that "FIFA Ultimate Team" - all loot boxes are gambling".

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