Lootboxes are gambling and are therefore illegal, the Belgian Gaming Commission has ruled.
The governing body looked at Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and found three of the titles were in violation of the country’s gambling legislation.
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Star Wars was the only title that did not break the rules because EA stripped out the game’s loot boxes after its launch debacle.
FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS:GO’s loot boxes rely on chance so are subject to Belgian gambling law.
A statement from Minister of Justice Koen Geens said the games were therefore illegal and demanded loot boxes to be removed.
Failure to do could result in EA risking “a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros”.
When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled.
“It is often children who come into contact with such systems and we cannot allow that,” Geens said.
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“Given the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable players, this was very worrying.”
The move could have huge implications for Ultimate Team fans – who spend hundreds of pounds every year in the hope of ‘packing’ FIFA 18’s best players.
However, thousands have complained that packs are unbalanced and rarely contain players of any use.
The move could see the contents of packs become more visible – perhaps with a clearer tiering system based on player ratings.
Jumbo Rare Packs, for instance, may now have to guarantee that all players within the pack are above a certain rating.
Belgium will now seek to find out the parties responsible for lootbox removal before imposing a deadline.
Earlier in the week, the Netherlands deemed some lootboxes illegal.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Gambling Commission still doesn’t think loot boxes are gambling or illegal in any way – but as cadence gathers in Europe, how long it’ll stay that way is anybody’s guess.