EA’s $11 million fine over loot boxes overturned

As ruled by the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division

EA’s $11 million fine over loot boxes overturned

Following a €10 million fine ($11 million) in October 2020 by the Court of The Hague, EA has been aiming to overturn the ruling. It has now succeeded.

Following review, Loot boxes first became unlawful in the Netherlands in 2018 as part of an amendment to the country's gambling laws.

The initial ruling determined that FIFA Ultimate Team packs had broken Dutch gambling laws resulted in a fine of €500,000 ($550,000) issued against EA for each week that it did not pull FIFA packs from its latest games, with the maximum accumulative fine being €10 million ($11 million).

EA decided to appeal the 2020 ruling and therefore kept its packs on sale, risking the full penalty. On March 9 2022, the Netherlands’ highest court - the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division - announced its overruling of the 2020 judgement.

The Dutch decision

This decision was reached as a result of the packs being deemed part of a wider game, "not an isolated game", and in the majority of cases are obtained through participating in the game.

The court ruled: "The tradability of the packs on the black market is relative. The black market mainly focuses on trading complete accounts rather than individual packs or their contents. Since the packs are not a standalone game, they are not a game of chance and do not require a licence.

"The publisher has therefore not violated the Games of Chance Act and the Gaming Authority should therefore not have imposed a penalty payment on the publisher. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division has 'revoked' the imposed penalty. This means that the penalty payment is off the table."

After the case, a spokesperson for EA told Eurogamer: "Today's decision confirms our belief that no aspect of FIFA or FIFA Ultimate Team can be considered gambling under Dutch law."

EA revealed in February that FIFA Mobile is no longer available to players in Vietnam, not able to be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play Store, and inaccessible to those who already downloaded.

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