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News video games 09 March 2022, 22:22

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Lootboxes in FUT are Not Gambling in the Netherlands; EA's Appeal Succeeds

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has withdrawn its recognition of FIFA Ultimate Team packs as gambling. Electronic Arts has thus avoided having to pay a €10 million fine.

Electronic Arts won't have to pay the Kingdom of the Netherlands a €10 million fine for lootboxes. Publishers of the FIFA series managed to overturn the ruling of the District Court of The Hague on the allegedly "gambling" aspect of FIFA Ultimate Team packs.

Recall, in October 2020, the Danish gaming authority ordered company to withdraw lootboxes from FIFA under the threat of a weekly fine of 500 thousand euros (up to a maximum of 10 million euros). EA immediately announced an appeal against this decision, although so far we have not heard anything more on the subject.

As written today by the Netherlands Division of Administrative Jurisdiction, the Gaming Authority had no right to impose a fine on EA. This is because Lootboxes are not an "isolated" game, but a "random element" in a larger "arcade game". Ergo: they cannot legally be considered a "game of chance":

"[...] getting and opening packages [FUT - author's note] is not a separate game. They are part of an arcade game and introduce an element of chance to the game. Players use the contents of the packets to create teams, play matches, and complete in-game tasks. While packs cannot be opened while matches are being played and tasks are being completed, they can be unpacked in the same FUT mode. The fact that they are opened independently of a match or in-game task does not make it a separate game."

Eurogamer also obtained a brief statement from Electronic Arts, although nothing specific was provided in it:

"Electronic Arts' approach to game design prioritizes choice, fun, fairness and value. Our priority has always been to provide players in the Netherlands and around the world with a positive experience."

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Passionate about video (and other) games for years, he completed an Mba in linguistics, defending a thesis about games. He began his adventure with Gamepressure in 2015, writing in the newsroom, later also covering film and – oh, horror! – technology (also contributor to the gaming encyclopedia). He started with platformers, which he still dearly loves (including metroidvania), but he's also interested in card games (including 'analog'), brawlers, soulslike games and basically every other type of game. Don't ask about the graphics – after a few hours of exposition, he can be delighted with pixelated characters from games that remember the days of the Game Boy age (if not older).

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