Belgium latest to rule video game loot boxes are illegal gambling

Belgium has become the latest country to whip out the ban-hammer on videogames’ so-called ‘loot boxes’ as an unauthorized form of gambling.

On Wednesday, the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) announced that a panel of its judges had examined the use of paid loot boxes in the games Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront II, FIFA 18 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and concluded that the products meet the definition of “games of chance.”

The BGC employs several parameters to determine whether a product meets that ‘game of chance’ definition, including the existence of a game element, whether chance has a role in the game, and whether a bet can lead to profit or loss. The BGC also found fault with loot boxes for offering players an “emotional profit forecast,” whatever that is.

Only three of the videogame titles studied by the BGC were found to be in violation, as EA, the makers of Star Wars Battlefront II, subsequently amended its product to eliminate paid loot boxes. The BGC noted that the loot box “phenomenon is broader than the four games tested,” and thus many other games were potentially in violation.

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