Gaming Authority may fine Electronic Arts for FIFA loot boxes

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The Gaming Authority (Ksa) is allowed FIFAmaker Electronic Arts (EA) and its European subsidiary both impose a fine of 250,000 euros per week court of The Hague Thursday decided.

In the football game FIFA so-called loot boxes are offered, digital purchases of which the content is not known in advance. In case of FIFA it concerns packages with football players for the Ultimate Team game mode, where you do not know in advance which players you will get.

The Ksa considers this an illegal form of online gambling, also because the players can be resold to third parties on sites outside the game. That is why the authority decided last year to impose an order subject to a penalty of 250,000 euros per week with a maximum of 5 million euros. The amount of the fine increases as long as loot boxes are offered. The fine applies to both the Swiss subsidiary of EA, which for the sale of FIFA responsible, as the parent company, and can therefore amount to a total of 10 million euros.

Electronic Arts then went to court. According to the company, there is no separate game of chance, because the loot boxes are inextricably linked to the football game itself. The company also emphasizes that the content of the loot boxes only has value within the game and cannot be converted into money.

The judge dismissed EA’s objections on Thursday. If the company wants to avoid the fine, it will have to disable the loot boxes within three weeks.

In a response, EA writes that the company is appealing the decision. “We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are trying to avoid a situation that will impact the ability of Dutch players to play FIFA Ultimate Team in full.”

Ksa decided in 2018 that loot boxes in games could in certain cases be regarded as illegal games of chance. Several other companies, including Valve, subsequently removed or modified lootboxes from their games.

This message has been supplemented with a response from EA.

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