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Belgium Considers Criminal Charges Against EA For Loot Box Gambling

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.

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  • I’ll bet EA kept the loot boxes enabled because they did calculations and found that the money they’d make would far outweigh the fines. I hope Belgium scales the fines up based on how much money EA made since the law was enacted and really makes them regret it.

    • You can’t buy yourself out of a law. They will be fined. And they will be fined for more again if the first fine had no effect. And again and again. And if nothing helps and EA continues to ignore the law, the authorities can freeze all EA bank accounts in the entire EU and seize EA’s physical assets as well. Do you know what that would do to EA’s holy stock value?

  • Hopefully, they fuck up EA so hard that their reputation is destroyed, they have to sell their assets to companies who give a fuck about video games and they fire every single fuck who’s been putting their shitty pay to win, microtransaction, loot box gambling shit and put those same people behind bars. Fuck EA.

    • except in most cases you are guaranteed to have at least 1 of each card per box /except maybe rare etc.
      where as loot boxes you could continue to buy them from now till this time next year and still not get 50 % of the items

  • Hope they win and this backlash against loot boxes and gachas continues. They really are just gambling, and they’re trying to take money for players while giving them almost nothing.

    I saw an ad for a “7x” rare unit bonus in a mobile game. What’s the drop rate after the 7x bonus? 2.1 percent. What were the rates before the 7x bonus? 0.3 percent.

    You’re basically throwing your money away. Games need to just start selling things for a fixed price again.

  • Even though I hope EA goes bankrupt, I can’t help but shake this feeling that letting the government take care of this is a really bad idea in the long run.

    Government likes to reach. And the government is filled with people that are completely ignorant on how modern technology works. If you need any examples just watch Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook hearing.

    I can easily see them launching a mad campaign to ban any form of RNG “for the children’s sake”.

  • Don’t they have anything better to do, like say…. banning memes or something?
    EA isn’t even an EU company so I don’t really see why Belgium thinks they have much authority. EA could simply block Belgium (or better yet the entire EU) from using their services and that will be the end of it.

    • they operate and sell in belgium. so The belgian law is in effect. They don’t care about loot boxes outside belgium after all. But if they wish to continue the loot boxes then they can not sell in belgium. That’s their right. But don’t go thinking the european market is not very lucrative for ea. One example would be Fifa. So ea deciding not to sell in belgium could be possible…but the whole eu, never going to happen.

  • Gambling = paying money to get (maybe more) money.

    Getting loot boxes in-game, is not gambling.
    Buying game content, is not gambling.

    Paying for loot boxes so you get game content that you can later sell for money… really, EA is a bunch of greedy fucks who are the only ones to blame.

  • I see nothing wrong with what they do with EA. I am against banning gambling for adults, but they don’t ban it this case – they simply require gambling to follow certain regulations (like no gambling for children).

  • If EA literally somehow is able to worm its way out of the charges then this is just a reason more they have to shut down this money snatching criminals because its gambling no matter what EA is saying.

  • All Power to Belgium!!! It is gambling simple is that. Finally someone who has the courage to do something and give EA the middle finger. Was about fucking time! I really hope they will be successful and or other countries will follow their example and end this loot box shit. EA needs to go if they aren’t able to create money in a normal way. They are criminals lock em up please

  • This is so retarded is not even funny. Who is forcing you to stupidly spend money? I thought so, that said if stupid people that whine about it wouldn’t regret the money they spent. How does it even make a decent enough amount of sense? Is this babysitting people using anti-freedom-to-buy policies?

    • Why are you even commenting when you can’t understand whats going on idiot? EA is taking advantage of people who can’t resist and other people who don’t care supporting this cancer with their money. You obviously don’t see what this means and where this is leading to.

    • It’s a good thing to do. People gamble because they want, but they get addicted, and maybe can’t get out of it, soon you’ll start to have homeless people, guess who will pay shelter, food, healthcare, prison (maybe) for those people? Yeah, people get to this point with lootboxes. So, the government taxes the companies or block the activity to gather funds, it’s similar for alcohol and cigarettes.

    • @01:14 There is a line in life and gaming. EA crossed this line with their loot boxes (and other shit they’ve done in the past) which aim towards younger players and people who just can’t think what they are supporting. EA needs to get fucked hard for this. EA knows exactly what they are doing and other companies kinda adapt what they are doing. EA is cancer what needs to get cut out of the gaming industry

    • They’re taking advantage of vulnerable people who are desperate for their next fix. These people aren’t the kind of people who would just buy one lootbox and be done. They’ll keep buying them until they get the sort of item they want. It’s called an addiction.

      • Take out the hatred glasses for a minute, three main things:
        – Why do productive normal people in society have to pay by playing the father/mother role of these dumb degenerates? Don’t you think it’s unfair? All of the incoming lawsuits are going to be backed by taxpayer dollars.
        – If this comes to pass and there’s a hypothetical domino effect on other countries, are you ready as a consumer to feel the brunt of this? This very well will mean that we’ll get an increase in purchasing videogames, since these companies have to make up the difference, an even bigger decrease in quality and polish of future games (Most likely both)
        – The victim mentality, is the same excuse censorfags use to justify butchering or outright banning media.

        • You have seen EA revenue right, they don’t need loot box to make a ridiculous profit. And if you say lack of self control is personal issue, than there should be no law against selling alcohol to miniors and ban on cocaine. After all it’s all their own fault they don’t have self control right?

          • These hyperboles about drugs are not helpful, this is about a relatively benign vice: gambling.

            I ask again: where are the parents? why would a child have access to a parent’s credit card number? what kind of parent would allow a child to have free access to his credit card?

            Why should the state tell you whether or not you should spend your money on pixels or for a chance to get some pixels? Does it not embarrass you this condescending hand-holding from the state? Does it not anger you that they take money from your pockets to provide a metaphorical helmet for the drooling retards that can;t control themselves?

            If you still buy EA games, are you ready to see a lower quality product? does it not make you rage that they will increase the price of their games because of this? The company has to answer to stockholders and they are obliged to keep the company in green and growing, money has to come from somewhere.

            Since this isn’t about sexual content (probably the one and only boogeyman of videogames in the world), does this not set a bad precedent that corrupt governments worldwide can strong-arm videogame companies into altering their content for anything now?

            I have already conceded that these customers are getting 100% ripped off. The fact that there are some people that cannot control themselves doesn’t mean everybody behaves the same way and they should be affected by this, not all children lack that much self awareness and much less adult people. This is some unsolved pathological issue that some individuals suffer, and it should be up to the people that are closest to this person to help him/her, most specifically the family and friends.