The Dutch government is in the final steps of banning loot boxes in video games, according to information published by Leon Y. Xiao, a video game law specialist.
The Dutch public information services replied to one of Xiao’s emails recently, claiming:
“As of this moment, there are plans for the Dutch government to improve the regulations for in-game purchases. One of the goals is to ban loot boxes in games.”
This is a welcome decision for many in the Netherlands, who have identified loot boxes as a form of gambling intended to manipulate young video gamers to keep conducting microtransactions.
Official confirmation from the Dutch Government that a ban on loot boxes is being sought. 🚫🇳🇱
Screenshot of email response below.
— Leon Y. Xiao (@LeonXiaoY) July 3, 2023
6 Dutch political parties have been advocating the ban of loot boxes since last year
This development is a result of the efforts of six political parties that campaigned last year to advocate strict restrictions on loot boxes in video games. These parties included the Christian Democratic Appeal, the Christian Union, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, the Socialist Party, Democrats 66, and the GroenLinks. According to the statement released by these parties,
“Children in video games are manipulated to purchase microtransactions.”
They further claimed that loot boxes in popular games, such as Overwatch, FIFA, and Call of Duty: World War 2, represent a “form of gambling”. Citing the legislature passed by Belgium in 2018, the campaigners passed this motion, imploring the cabinet to:
“investigate the possibility to also ban these loot boxes in the Netherlands and where necessary change the law.”
Dutch government tried to ban EA from selling loot boxes in 2020
Based on this motion, the Dutch Gambling Authority tried to regulate the inclusion of loot boxes for gamers in the Netherlands. However, the motion was overturned by the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division, claiming that no gambling laws of the country were broken by Electronic Arts by including loot boxes in the game.
Loot boxes were briefly banned in the Netherlands in 2020, with the government even slapping a penalty of €500,000 a week for Electronic Arts if they decided to continue selling loot boxes in FIFA games. However, the decision was overturned within a year, getting EA out of paying a hefty €10 million penalty.
Source: Leon Y. Xiao (via Twitter)