The Dutch Gaming Authority (Ksa) classified the lootboxes in EA’s FIFA as an illegal online gambling game. The for the "Ultimate Team" players drawn from the lootboxes are not known in advance. Acquired players can also be sold to third parties for an in-game fee, the Ksa justified its classification and last year imposed a fine of 250.000 euros per week and a maximum fine of 5 million euros.
Fine of 500.000 euros – per week
The fine is, according to nu, against both the Swiss subsidiary of EA, which is responsible for the sale of FIFA, and the parent company and can therefore amount to 500.000 euros per week and a maximum of 10 million euros.
EA then filed a complaint with the court. According to the company, it is not a separate game of chance, as the lootboxes are inseparable from the game and the content only has a value within the game. The contents of the Lootboxes can also not be converted into money, EA stressed in the reasoning. Lootboxes in EA’s FIFA can be purchased via in-game currency or for real money in the game.
EA wants to appeal
A judge from The Hague rejected EA’s objections on Thursday. If the company wants to avoid the fines, it must disable the lootboxes within three weeks, the ruling read, according to a report by nu. The reasoning states: "The Ksa was correct in concluding that the definition of gambling within the meaning of the Betting and Gaming Act was met". Given this qualification and the prohibition on offering online gambling without a license, the Ksa is entitled to proceed with enforcement, the reasoning continues.
EA is disappointed by the decision and does not believe its own products and services violate gambling laws in any way, EA’s statement in the report reads. They want to appeal and try to allow Dutch players to fully play FIFA Ultimate Team.
No more real-money lootboxes in Belgium
In Belgium, the company finally relented in the FIFA Lootboxes dispute in January 2019 and removed the option to buy Lootboxes for real money. However, Ksa already justifies its action by the possibility of reselling players for in-game currency. Should EA appeal the decision of the court in The Hague, the lootbox situation is also not yet finally settled.