Dutch Court Rules Loot Boxes are Not Gambling

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A penalty issued by the Dutch gambling authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) to Electronic Arts (EA) has been revoked after a Dutch court ruled that loot boxes are not considered gambling products.

The judgement was handed down by the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State, part of the District Court of the Hague.

The KSA first issued a penalty of €250,000 per week to EA on 15 October 2019, claiming that the publisher had violated article 1(a) of the Dutch Gaming Act by providing what it deemed to be gambling products in the video game FIFA.

According to the KSA, this applied to FIFA because the game contains loot boxes and “player packs”, the contents of which are not known until they are acquired. Player packs can also be traded and bartered for and have economic value in the game

EA launched appeals, which were subsequently dismissed the following year. However, EA appealed to the Administrative Jurisdiction Division on 29 November 2021, which led to the most recent court judgement.

During this appeal, EA argued that the loot boxes and player packs are not gambling products as stipulated in the Dutch Gaming Act, as they are part of a wider game and not available separately.

This was supported by the fact that the features can only be accessed through game play.

It added that the contents of the features cannot be used for economic value as they cannot be converted into cash, and argued that the KSA overstepped in issuing a penalty as there is no risk of gambling addiction.

The court sided with EA and revoked all previous decisions, concluding that loot boxes and player packs do not meet the requirements of gambling products in the Dutch Gaming Act. As a result, it also ruled that EA did not have to comply with the penalty.

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