Dutch Gambling Authority's report tackles loot boxes

Joanna Estrada
April 20, 2018

According to public news agency NOS, four of the ten have eight weeks to make changes to loot boxes to comply with the Better Gaming Act. These games not only had the contents of a loot box determined by chance, but the contents were tradeable. The Authority chose to investigate due to loot boxes' skyrocketing popularity over the past months.

Should the companies not comply, the regulating body can impose fines or prohibit the game from being sold in the Netherlands.

While not every game examined by the DGA was found to be noncompliant with gambling laws, that did not stop the group from admonishing them. Loot boxes, also known as loot crates, are purchasable in-game items that contain further items, some of which could be of great value and help to players, while others could only represent simple customization options.

As a result, these games violate the rules of chance per the gaming commission (thanks, Stolkie1971). Kansspelautoriteit said that higher risk loot boxes act like slot machines as they offer transferable goods, players are able to open an unlimited number of loot boxes, and the "near-miss" effect is deployed.

"I call on all game companies not to make loot boxes accessible to children anymore and to remove addictive elements". "But if the items in such a loot box can be traded outside the game, we speak of a gambling game for which you need a permit in the Netherlands and have to take measures to protect consumers against themselves", Appelman said to the Volkskrant. It did not name the worst offending games, but NOS said Fifa18, Dota2, PugG and Rocket League were the four singled out for breaking gaming laws.

The NOS article goes on to cite a study conducted by Juniper Research.

At the same time the Kansspelautoriteit report suggested a link between loot boxes and players being at an increased risk of developing a gambling addiction.

Microtransactions have completely reshaped the way that game developers conduct business, and with an estimated 24 billion euro generated in the last year-$4 billion United States dollars for Blizzard alone in 2017-it's hard to blame them for being interested.

Paid loot boxes have come under heavy fire in recent months by many legislators in various countries. Their contents are usually random, which encourages players to spend more money as they pursue certain rewards.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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