Belgium Looking To Classify Loot Boxes As Gambling

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor November 16, 2017
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Loot boxes are already regulated in China, and thanks to the recent loot-box-o-rama in gaming, the same thing might be happening soon in Belgium.

According to PCGamer, which is getting its info from a translated Belgian news site, the Belgian Gaming Commission "is investigating whether Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 should be classified as gambling." If those games are considered to be gambling, then the results could cost their parent companies "hundreds of thousands of euros." And, it could be argued, such a step could be applied to any number of other games that offer randomized loot crates, like Guild Wars 2 or Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Eurogamer has even more on the topic, including that the Netherlands is also looking into the matter and the EA has predictably responded to the controversy to say that "The crate mechanics of Star Wars Battlefront 2 are not gambling."

First point I'd make is this: "Hundreds of thousands of euros" would be a pittance to games that, like Overwatch, sell tens of millions of copies. If the choice was "Pay one million euros (about $1.17 million USD) or you have to remove your loot boxes," most companies would ask, "Who can we make the check out to?"

So the actual "teeth" in this enforcement is pretty light, unless the second part of the enforcement -- that the games would be "removed from sale" -- comes into play. If such regulations extend beyond one or two small small countries, however ... that's when things could get messy.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (2)

Spehris 4 years ago
I just don't get how they can say it's not gambling, when you are literally gambling (with real money mind you) to get an item you want (like playing lottery but with game stuff), it's just so weird they can somehow say it's not, though it's the very definition of gambling, but with game stuff reward instead of a money reward.

Hopefully this trend will get old and die out, fingers crossed. I'd rather pay a flat-out price for something I want, instead of literally throwing money away on some low off-chance I might (and probably not) get whatever it is.

Onlythetruth 4 years ago
Finally western politicians are waking up from their long winter sleep and see that their ancient rules and regulations arent't in comfort with todays buisnesses, loopholes everywhere.
It's really nice to see all those game closures over the past weeks and western publisher backing off from trashy asian mmos which take profit from peoples gambling addictions and minority complexes. Let's see what new will emerge after the f2p Armageddon.


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