The Dutch political parties have overwhelmingly supported a new attempt to prohibit the sale of video game loot boxes in the country. Six parties have said they will support the motion, which would bring Dutch law closer to that of Belgium, where loot boxes were banned in 2018. (thanks, Neowin).
Loot boxes are described as “a form of gambling” in the motion, and “children in video games are manipulated to purchase” such items through in-game microtransactions.
While the motion has not yet been signed into law, the six parties represent more than half of the country’s Senate and House of Representatives, indicating that it is likely to pass.
Previously, Dutch politicians attempted and failed to regulate video game loot boxes, most notably in a lengthy dispute with EA over Ultimate Team packs in FIFA.
The Court of the Hague ruled in October 2020 that FIFA packs violated Dutch gambling law and fined EA €500,000 for each week it did not comply with its demand to remove the packs from that year’s FIFA. EA filed an appeal, allowing the fine to reach its €10 million maximum.
The fine was overturned two years later by the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division, the country’s highest court.
This new Dutch legislation may now close the loophole that allowed EA to escape (as the acquisition of FIFA packs was “not an isolated game” and the packs themselves were part of a “wider game of skill”).
Following government pressure over loot boxes, EA stopped selling FIFA Points in Belgium in January 2019.
Loot boxes have recently come under fire in Spain as well. According to Reuters, the country is planning regulations to combat “thoughtless, compulsive, or even pathological” consumer behaviour while still allowing users to enjoy games. The legislation’s finer points are expected in the coming weeks.
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