EA Wins Dutch Court Battle Over Loot Boxes
A penalty that was issued by Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), the Dutch gambling authority, to Electronic Arts (EA) has been withdrawn after a Dutch court rules that loot boxes are not gambling products.
The ruling was issued by the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State, which is part of the District Court of The Hague.
EA was first issued a fine of €250,000 per week on 15 October 2019 with KSA claiming that the company had violated article 1(a) of the Dutch Gaming Act by offering what it considered to be gambling products in the game FIFA.
KSA said that FIFA contained loot boxes and player packs, the contents of which were not revealed until they were acquired. Furthermore, player packs may be traded and bartered in the game and, as such, have economic value.
EA immediately launched an appeal, which was dismissed the next year. However, on 29 November 2021, the company appealed to the Administrative Jurisdiction Division, which resulted in the ruling earlier this week.
During the appeal, EA put forward the argument that loot boxes and player packs are not gambling products as defined by the Dutch Gaming Act as they are part of a broader game and are not available separately. The fact that the features may only be accessed through gameplay supports this.
Furthermore, EA argued that the contents of the feature have no economic value as they cannot be converted into cash, and the company claimed that the KSA went too far in issuing a penalty as there is no risk of gambling addiction.
The court found in favor of EA and overruled all previous decisions. It decided that loot boxes and player packs are not gambling products according to the Danish Gaming Act, and as such, EA does not have to pay a penalty.