BUSINESS

Belgium Minister of Justice: Loot boxes are Gambling

TAGs: Electronic Arts, loot boxes, Star Wars Battlefront II

Electronic Art’s Star Wars Battlefront II may soon be banned in Belgium after the state regulator declared that the game’s controversial loot boxes are a form of gambling.

VTM News reported that Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens wants loot boxes to be prohibited since these in-game purchases are “dangerous for the mental health of the child.”

“The mixing of money and addiction is gambling,” the Kanspel Committee then ruled.

Belgium has launched a probe into the loot boxes offered in Battlefront II after gamers complained that they had to buy crates without knowing what they will get from those boxes.

For the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC), a player who buys something without really Belgium Minister of Justice: Loot boxes are Gamblingknowing what he or she is actually buying is gambling.

The BGC also noted that the game poses a danger to minors, who can spend a lot of money under social pressure.

“It is therefore dependent on chance how well you can play the game. And in that case, this is one of the games of chance,” said BGC director Peter Naessens, according to the news report.

Geens will be urging other European Union states to ban loot boxes, although he admits that doing so will take much time.

“We will certainly try to ban it,” Geens said.

Of all European Union member states, France is the only other country aside from Belgium which has already ordered a probe into the in-game purchases.

French Senator Jérôme Durain has called on the state regulator ARJEL to conduct an investigation into loot boxes and micro-transactions, which he said lack transparency.

The British government had a different take on loot boxes. In response to the petitions seeking to classify loot boxes as gambling, the UK Gambling Commission took the same view as the PEGI rating system that loot boxes are not gambling if the items cannot be exchanged for real money.

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