Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

EA under Criminal Investigation by Belgium Government over Illegal FIFA Lootboxes

EA under Criminal Investigation by Belgium Government over Illegal FIFA Lootboxes

After the Belgium Gaming Commission ruled that lootboxes present in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, Overwatch, and CS: Global Offensive were in violation with the Belgian Gambling Laws, the Commission threatened with huge fines and imprisonment if a publisher failed to comply with the country's gambling laws.

EA is reportedly undergoing a criminal investigation by the Belgian government, due to the publisher apparently contravening the nation's gambling laws that have branded loot boxes as a form of gambling.

According to a report from Belgian website Nieuwsblad (thanks, Gamasutra), EA has refused to comply with Belgian gambling laws regarding Ultimate Team Packs in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18. This comes as a result of a loot box ban issued by the Kansspelcommissie (gaming commission) that decrees all forms of online gambling must be removed from video games.

EA, meanwhile, has been holding out regarding removal of loot boxes/card packs from Federation Internationale de Football Association 18 (and presumably Federation Internationale de Football Association 19), with Belgian publication Metro noting that the company is consequently under investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor's office.

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EA chief exec Andrew Wilson disagrees with that outcome, however, and claims the randomized loot boxes in Federation Internationale de Football Association aren't gambling as players know exactly how many objects they're going to receive, and because there's no way for players to sell in-game items for real world cash.

Wilson also stuck to his guns that there is no way to trade the items won or cash out, which, despite being a fundamental aspect of gambling laws in other countries, does not apply to Belgium.

An EA representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

KitGuru Says: No matter what EA thinks, it has a duty to uphold national laws and therefore should really outline its plans to comply before facing hefty fines. Players can get items in loot boxes either by paying or through game play. How do you feel about EA's purchasable loot boxes?

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