Landmark Belgium gaming authority ruling defines loot boxes as gambling

Publishers could face sizeable fines if they don't remove paid loot crates

Landmark Belgium gaming authority ruling defines loot boxes as gambling

The Belgian Gaming Commission has declared that loot in video games are gambling and therefore are illegal.

This follows an investigation into the monetisation mechanic in the wake of Star Wars Battlefront II's troubled launch. From this, the body has declared that loot boxes are gambling given that there is: "a game element, a bet can lead to profit or loss and chance has a role in the game".

Games of chance

The organisation looked at the aforementioned title from a galaxy far, far away, as well as FIFA 18, Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

All the above aside from Battlefront II were found to have loot boxes that constitute a game of chance, and therefore are gambling. Battlefront II only escaped because EA and developer DICE made changes to the game post-launch.

The Belgian Gaming Authority has said that games with paid loot boxes are in violation of the country's law and therefore can be dealt with as a criminal matter.

Said loot boxes are to be removed or the publishers will face a €800,000 fine or a prison sentence of five years.

Where children are involved, these punishments will be doubled.

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PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.