Belgium Commission Labels FIFA, Overwatch Loot Boxes Illegal; €1.6 Million Fines Inbound

Overwatch Illegal Loot Boxes

The Belgium Gaming Commission has labeled the loot boxes in games like Overwatch, FIFA and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as illegal gambling, since they adhere to using monetary structures that rely on taking real life money in order to engage in a game of chance. Now, Belgian gamers can kiss premium loot boxes goodbye.

After initially labeling loot boxes as gambling back in November of 2017, the Belgium Gaming Commission has taken steps forward to further criminalize the use of predatory loot boxes in AAA games by announcing fines and jail time for publishers who continue to use them in their games.

Dutch news site Het Niewsblad is reporting that the Belgium Gaming Commission did a study into four games, including Overwatch, FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Star Wars: Battlefront II and found that all four games utilize typical roulette style gambling mechanisms that use real money for potential digital rewards.

The commission forfeited to pursue sanctions against Star Wars: Battlefront II since EA and DICE had the premium loot box mechanics removed.

Many Americans are poorly educated about gambling laws in the U.S., and have opted to defend corporations utilizing gambling mechanisms because many seem to be addicted to loot boxes. However, Belgian consumers and authorities are not as gullible as Americans and have decided to take action against publishers pushing for loot box gambling.

In fact, the Belgium Gaming Commission will be fining publishers up to €1.6 Million, which his close to $2 million in USD per infraction. Initial infractions will be €800,000, but when minors are involved – for games such as FIFA 18 and Overwatch – the fines will double. There’s also a potential penalty of up to five years in prison.

Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams minister, Koen Geens, will consult with the federal cabinet, and ensure that the games that contain illegal loot boxes will need to be updated to have them removed, otherwise the publishers will be fined.

It appears the age of gambling in AAA gaming will come to an end… in Belgium.

(Main image courtesy of bhelve)