Belgian Gambling Commission rules that loot boxes are gambling – VTM

According to a report from Belgian news outlet VTM News, the Belgian Gambling Commission has rules that loot boxes, like those seen in Star Wars Battlefront 2, do constitute as gambling and want to start efforts to ban them.

In a translation, the site is reporting that the Minister of Justice wants to prohibit these kinds of in-game purchases, saying, ”mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

"The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," was the conclusion of the almost week-long investigation, which also stated that it wanted to ban all microtransactions, but admitted that would need a change in the law on a larger scale. "But that takes time because we have to go to Europe," the Commission added. "We will certainly try to ban it."

The current situation with Belgian’s sudden interest in microtransactions started with the critical fan feedback over Star Wars Battlefront 2, which was addressed by EA and developer DICE when the game launched on Friday with a temporary removal of in-game purchases while the game is rebalanced. During this, the Belgian Gambling Commission launched an investigation into the loot box monetisation scheme to see if it contravened its gambling laws.

In Belgium, the act of a game of chance is considered gambling and requires a licence from the Gambling Commission. In comparison with the UK, which is also monitoring how loot boxes and microtransactions operate in games after concerns were raised over the welfare of minors playing games using this kind of system, the UK Gambling Commission believes that there has to be a chance to lose, or a fiscal value to the reward for it to constitute as a gambling practice. 

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