EA’s refusal to remove loot boxes from game despite Belgian authorities warning them that they constitute illegal gambling is leading to a criminal investigation of the company.
Other loot box laden titles such as Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive caved in by restricting such purchases for those residing in Belgium, though EA has stuck to their assertions that loot boxes are not gambling (with their sports titles FIFA 18 and 19 being targeted).
Belgium determined loot boxes to be a form of gambling a couple of months ago, meaning that companies who want to include them in their game have to acquire a gambling license as well as follow gambling laws – which EA is not willing to do.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson even stated that he intends to preserve loot boxes for all future games they release:
“As you might imagine, we’re working with all the industry associations globally and with regulators in various jurisdictions and territories, many of whom we’ve been working with for some time and have evaluated and established that programs like FIFA Ultimate Team are not gambling.”
Now it seems the Belgian Gaming Commission are cooperating with the Brussels public prosecutor’s office to prosecute EA for unlicensed gambling, although this would surely be the subject of long-running court fiasco.
Even if EA worms its way out of the charges the Belgian Gaming Commission has declared that should EA win the case, they will revise gambling laws to better address loot boxes anyway.