Netherlands Gaming Authority cracks down on loot boxes in some games

Four out of Ten Loot Boxes Violate Dutch Gambling Law, Local Regulator Finds

Recently, the Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA) launched an investigation into 10 unnamed games and how they utilize loot boxes.

The ruling comes down after a study performed by the Gaming Authority revealed that four of the games were in violation of gaming laws due to their ability to be traded for monetary value. The reason is that the content of these loot boxes is determined by chance and that the prizes to be won can be traded outside of the game: "the prizes have a market value", the report says.

Ten popular games with loot boxes have been investigated in the Netherlands by the country's gaming commission. But the Gaming Authority also made clear its opinion on the argument that loot boxes are not a form of gambling because they always deliver some form of in-game item when they're opened.

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Although a small territory in the gaming landscape, the Netherlands joins a growing list of countries and authorities which want to see the practice restricted from its current guise. Through their investigation, they found that four of the ten games they examined were in violation. The NGA declared that four of those 10 games were using loot boxes in an unlawful manner, with the guilty titles rumored to be Dota 2, Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Rocket League.

Research author Lauren Foye explained: "Skins are acquired both through playing video games and from opening purchased loot boxes". Trading items provided the player with earning money should a rare item drop from the loot box. Although the authority itself didn't name the games involved, NOS reports that the four games in question are Federation Internationale de Football Association 18, Dota 2, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Rocket League. The regulator found out that all loot boxes it studied "could be addictive". Either way, the debate on loot boxes is getting even more interesting. 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". In terms of addiction potential, such loot boxes compare to blackjack or roulette, while loot boxes with a lower addiction risk potential are comparable with small-scale bingo. Many consider them as being similar to "games of chance".

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