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The Netherlands Plans Total Ban on Video Game Loot Boxes - Newstbt.com

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 2 August 2023
2 min to read

The issue of whether or not video game loot boxes and microtransactions are a form of gambling without yet reaching a global standard is exemplified by the potential ban on these practices in the Netherlands.
An example of a loot box that might appear in a video game

Loot boxes have been a hot-button topic for a while, as they offer players the chance to purchase virtual items at a random cost. Last year, a court judge in the Netherlands deemed that, since microtransactions have no real-world value outside of their respective games, they cannot be considered a game of chance. However, recent reports from the Dutch government have revealed an attempt to ban these boxes altogether. This initiative, if successful, could lead to Belgium and other EU countries joining the Netherlands in banning loot boxes. The controversy surrounding loot boxes continues, leaving gamers and legislators with a quandary to resolve.

Loot Box Quandary Continues

The United Kingdom (UK) and Belgium have shown a strong stance against loot boxes and other types of in-game microtransactions. The UK requested game developers to reconsider their practices if they wished to avoid potential regulations, while Belgium went as far as to impose an outright ban. Furthermore, a court in Austria concluded that Sony was legally responsible for the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) packs. The packs enable gamers to buy in-game players to build their teams, but the content of the packs remain unknown prior to the purchase, making them a form of gambling according to the judge. In contrast, Canada and other countries have opted for a different approach. In March, a court in Canada maintained that, since the microtransactions are not linked to real-world value, these purchases do not constitute gambling. The Netherlands seems to be undecided as of yet, but this might soon change.

Leon Y. Xiao, a Ph.D. Fellow at the IT University of Copenhagen, has revealed that the Dutch central government is working on a legislation plan to introduce a ban on loot boxes. Coming across a publication by the Rijksoverheid, Xiao took to Twitter to clarify the matter, which was later confirmed be the government’s Public Information Service. While it hasn’t been confirmed how far along the ban is in development, it’s clear there is a growing push to introduce it.

Growing Push for Dutch Loot Box Ban

Following Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Micky Adriaansens’ launch of an anti-loot box campaign, six political parties presented a proposal to the legislature seeking to ban the sale and distribution of loot boxes and other microtransactions. Securing support for the initiative has been a challenge due to diverse opinions on microtransactions; however, due to the increasing stigma around the concept of “gambling,” it has been easy to enlist backing. René Otto, a lawyer knowledgeable in gaming law, conducted an analysis into the ramifications this prohibition would have on the international gaming sector, forecasting that the decision made by the Dutch government may become a standard for other nations encountering the same troubles, thus potentially producing substantial changes in the financial procedures of betting firms worldwide.

Adriaansens pointed out the necessity of implementing stricter regulations. She stated that a ban was essential to increase consumer safety, and she expressed hope that the EU will concur and bring in a ban across the region. It appears that Adriaansens already has the backing of EU leaders.

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Updated: 2 August 2023
2 min to read

The professional casino player, author of books and articles about gambling, creator of gaming content. I study this field and am happy to share my knowledge and skills acquired over the years with everyone