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Belgium bans loot boxes, punishments include prison, fines

Published: 14:20, 25 April 2018
A wooden crate against a blue background with AltChar logo watermark
AltChar: Loot Box

The Belgian Gaming Commission has found FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter Strike: Global Offensive to be in violation of gambling regulations in the country, due to the games containing loot boxes. Battlefront 2, however, is on the green.

Seriously though - how ironic is that? EA's removal of loot boxes from Star Wars: Battlefront 2 was timed impeccably as the publisher has been let off the hook by the Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens. Well, at least for Battlefront 2, leaving them only FIFA 18 to deal with.

Belgian judiciary finds loot boxes to be gambling and therefore illegal. So, FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS:GO all have to get rid of loot box mechanisms, otherwise they're in a whole heap of trouble.

If the publishers in question don't comply, they're facing punishments of up to five years in prison and up to 800 thousand euros. To make matters worse, involving minors into gambling at this level could potentially mean double punishments, which certainly adds urgency to the move.

Belgium are firm proponents of protecting minors as well as adults from gambling advertising. As such, the government wants to ensure "that children and adults are not confronted with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game."

You may recall to raise the question, although European efforts seemed to have subsided somewhat. In the meantime, and had similar efforts, even though the entire ruckus ended after that games with loot boxes will only be labeled, so as to make it easier for parents to decide.

Neighbouring Holland seems to have brought the European loot box dilemma , citing similarly strict regulations. Note however that the Dutch government didn't disclose the names of the games they're taking under consideration, in order to ensure anonymity while the process is ongoing.

With increasing government interest in the mechanic, we can't expect them to stick around for much longer. To be perfectly honest, we can't say we'll be shedding any tears either.

AltChar A lute, a box and a loot box against a blue background Loot + Box = Loot box.

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