Four games are on the chopping block in the Netherlands, after the Dutch Gaming Commission (DGA) found them to include “elements in them that can also be found in the gambling world,” namely loot boxes.
The DGA recently investigated 10 games that included paid loot boxes in some way. While six out of the 10 games were in compliance with the Netherlands’ gambling laws, the other four included items in their loot boxes that can be traded between players.
None of the 10 games under investigation were specifically named, but if the four games found that violate Dutch gambling laws do not make changes to their loot boxes that comply with regulations, the DGA will specifically announce which games are in violation and either impose fines or ban the sales of those games outright.
While those games might not have officially been announced, Dutch public news agency NOS reported four of the titles under investigation were Dota 2, FIFA 18, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League, the latter of which seems especially dubious considering players must pay to even open whatever “crates” (i.e. loot boxes) they earn in the first place.
What makes loot box items that can be traded a violation of gambling regulations in the Netherlands is that they actually contain real-world value. Loot boxes which contain items that cannot be traded are not in technical violation of any regulations, but the DGA still doesn’t like them.
The DGA have implemented these loot box regulations mostly in an attempt to protect children from an increased risk of gambling addiction by allowing them to gamble during their early personal development.
Loot boxes have fallen under intense political and legal scrutiny following the high-profile backlash against Star Wars Battlefront II‘s planned loot box system, for which publisher EA recently apologized. Ever since then, lawmakers throughout the world have taken steps towards regulating games with loot boxes. In the U.S., the ESRB has added a label to games to notify consumers about which games include in-game purchases like loot boxes and microtransactions. However, this recent development in the Netherlands seems like the most clearly drawn connection between gambling, loot boxes, and the possibility for serious legal regulation.
Source: VG 24/7