Dutch Gaming Authority Declares Loot Boxes As Gambling

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The Dutch Gaming Authority have found that during their investigations, at least four popular games (ten games were investigated) with loot boxes were found to be in violation of the country's Better Gaming Act.

The core issue seems to be that once you assign a monetary value to something found inside of a loot box and make it tradable, then in the Netherlands, that would be enough to deem it gambling.

The study found that loot boxes do indeed integrate games of chance in titles that are typically reliant on skill to win. "It is forbidden to offer this type of games of chance without a license to the Dutch players". "The organization reached this decision after its "'Study of Loot Boxes, A Treasure or a Burden?" study and is calling on game developers to modify their games accordingly by mid-June.

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The six other games studied were not in violation of any laws, but were still heavily criticized for their addictive qualities.

"To date, the supervisory body has not been able to establish that providers of the games implement control measures to exclude vulnerable groups such as minors and to prevent addiction".

The Gaming Authority began investigating loot boxes in November after "Star Wars Battlefront II" caused widespread controversy over a microtransaction system many felt was unfair and exploitative. This is because coincidence determines the contents of these loot boxes. But it also makes some very interesting comments on the addictiveness of loot boxes, which it said carry a "moderate to high addiction risk potential". There is now no evidence of large-scale loot box use among high-risk groups, but "the risk of gambling addiction in this group is many times higher than in adults".

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And it's games that host those that are now considered unlawful by the Dutch.

This was pretty much the crux of the matter in which some government regulators felt that loot boxes in games were akin to gambling. "The in-game goods differ and have different market values if they can be traded". It also noted that although Steam has "attempted to address concerns" in the wake of class-action lawsuits in 2016, "significant gambling participation continues to exist".

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