The Gaming Authority should not have imposed a penalty payment on EA, the maker of the FIFA games, for a gambling element that is in the company’s games. This has been ruled by the Council of State, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands.
The case revolves around so-called loot boxes† These are virtual treasure chests that a player can buy in FIFA Ultimate Team mode with real money or with coins earned in the game. It contains various cards of football players, with which people can build their own team. Players do not know in advance which cards they will receive.
The Gaming Authority called this an addictive element that resembles gambling and imposed a penalty on EA at the end of 2020. The authority found that the company needed a license to offer the packages. EA appealed, but lost the case at the court in The Hague. The Council of State now agrees with the FIFA games maker and wipes the penalty payment off the table.
According to the council, the loot boxes no games of chance that require a license. “Getting and opening the packs is not a standalone game. They are part of a game of skill and add an element of chance to the game.” Because opening the packages is only an element within FIFA, no license is required, the Council of State ruled.
EA has not yet responded to the ruling of the Council of State. The Gaming Authority will provide a response later today.