Belgium Deems Loot Boxes as Gambling; Moves to Ban Them Across Europe

Belgium Deems Loot Boxes as Gambling; Moves to Ban Them Across Europe”

Amidst all the criticism, the Belgian Gaming Commission initiated an investigation into these loot boxes and analyzed their operation in Star Wars: Battlefront II and Overwatch to determine if they can be considered as gambling and the government entity has already reached a conclusion.

Star Wars: Battlefront II's controversial loot box system may be gone (for now, anyway), but it's certainly left a sore spot with a number of gamers. The answer is yes.

Recently VTM News reported that the Belgian Gaming Commission has determined that the loot boxes present in the video games are gambling and will have to be governed according to the legal framework of the country in that area.

Democratic Rep. Chris Lee specifically called out the highly anticipated first-person shooter game in a video released Tuesday, calling the EA title a "Star Wars-themed online casino, created to lure kids into spending money".

The report comes to us from Power-Up Gaming via VTM News.

Belgium Deems Loot Boxes as Gambling; Moves to Ban Them Across Europe

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 unsafe for the mental health of the child". Moreover, Geens is keen on taking the matter beyond Belgium's borders, an effort that will see such digital implementations banned across Europe.

The move by Belgium's Gaming Commission could have far-reaching consequences since many properties, not just Star Wars: Battlefront II (who placed microtransactions in the country's cross-hairs), implement loot boxes in one form or another.

It looks like if the microtransactions do come back they won't be in the form of premium loot boxes.

With Belgium hoping to make loot boxes illegal in Europe, this would be another hit to EA and other companies using the same mechanic, but it will take some time.

Both EA and the ESRB assert that in-game loot boxes aren't gambling because you're guaranteed to always get something, a bit like a lucky packet.

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