Belgian Gaming Commission Rules that Overwatch, FIFA 18 & CS: GO Are in Violation; Threatens with Huge Fines and Imprisonment
The Belgian Gaming Commission has ruled that Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are in violation of the law, while EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II got off the hook due to the removal of paid lootboxes in the game.
As reported by Belgian paper De Standard, the Commission has concluded that in order for a game to be regarded as gambling, a title has to fulfill 4 requirements: it has to be a game, with a certain stake, which leads to either win or loss for the player, and coincidence has to play a role.
Blizzard’s Overwatch, EA’s FIFA 18 and Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive all meet these requirements, and according to the Belgian Gaming Commission, lootboxes in these games are illegal. “Paid loot boxes aren’t an inoffensive component of games which act like games that require skill”, director of the Belgian Gaming Commission, Peter Naessens, said. “Players are being tempted and misguided and none of the protective measures for gambling are being applied.”
If no changes are being made to games that are considered gambling, publishers can face fines up to €800.000 and imprisonment up to 5 years. These charges can be doubled if it can be proved that the ‘victims’ involve minors.
Apart from the publisher, both The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and Disney, the owner of the Star Wars franchise, are said to have been urged to take measures.
Last week, the Dutch Gaming Commission already ruled that ten games are in violation due to the use of lootboxes, although the Dutch commission has ruled that lootboxes are only a problem if its contents can be sold. Publishers of the games in question have been given 8 weeks to implement changes before enforcement actions are being taken.