Some loot boxes can be considered gambling, according to the Netherlands gaming authority. Which has in turn warned video game publishers to remove elements from their loot box systems that it considers to be addictive before June 20th.
The authority looked into ten popular games, and judged that four of them were in violation of the country’s Betting and Gaming Act. It decided that loot boxes are games of chance, and that the contents had monetary value as they can be traded outside of the game. Therefore it is prohibited to offer these games without a licence.
The developers and publishers are now required to remove any ‘addiction sensitive’ elements from their loot box systems. These refer to ‘almost winning’ effects, satisfying visual effects and the ability to rapidly open one loot box after another. Another requirement is to bring in measures to ensure that vulnerable groups are excluded from the systems, or to prove that their loot boxes are harmless.
If the companies refuse to comply, the gaming authority said that it will ‘instigate enforcement action against providers of games of chance with loot boxes that do not adhere to this norm’ which could extent to a fine, or even a ban.
While the gaming authority did not reveal the names of the four games found to be in violation of the Act, they were revealed by Dutch broadcaster NOS. According to the broadcaster, the games in question are FIFA 18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League.
While these four were the only of the 10 studied to be found in violation of the Act, the authority criticised every game’s usage of their loot box systems, saying that they could all be seen as addictive.