Belgium has joined the Netherlands in declaring that randomized loot boxes in video games are gambling and are therefore illegal in the country. The Belgian Gaming Commission looked at Overwatch, FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Star Wars Battlefront II, and determined that only the loot boxes in the latter did not constitute a game of chance because they were taken out at the time of the investigation. Belgium’s Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, is calling for their removal.
Geens requested that the Gaming Commission look into loot boxes after the Star Wars Battlefront II controversy, and he feels that minors in particular could be vulnerable to loot boxes influence as “gambling advertising.”
Geens wants to meet with video game companies to discuss the removal of loot boxes, stating that since these and any other games with them are in violation of the country’s gaming legislation, a prison sentence and fine are possible.
Here in America, legislators in multiple states have proposed legislation involving loot boxes and called upon the ESRB to address the matter systematically.
The dominos are clearly falling regarding loot boxes, and we can’t just dismiss this as the local concerns of other countries. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see what the dialog between video game companies and politicians is like in countries like the U.S., Canada, and England where many game companies are headquartered and millions of dollars are at stake.