Gambling: Electronic Arts being probed in Belgium for what prosecutors see as illegal gambling
Is the video game developer Electronic Arts (EA), in fact, a casino? In any case, the Belgian authorities seem to think so, because they have just launched a criminal investigation into the company, as it continues to offer so-called loot boxes in the video games FIFA 18 and FIFA 19.
Since the end of last year, the loot boxes in some video games have been causing controversy. Several regulators, as well as those from Belgium and the Netherlands, see it as illegal gambling where players make transactions to buy boxes of additional content for the games. However, the problem is that the players do not know what they are buying in advance and the randomness of the content is thereby recognized as gambling. Some content is also more interesting to players than others.
A criminal investigation
The Belgian Gaming Commission has named the three games Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Overwatch, and FIFA 18 in the loot-box affair. The companies offering the first two games have already removed Belgium loot boxes, but Electronic Arts continues to refuse. Now the company is under criminal investigation by the Brussels prosecutor. If the court decides to sue, the case will go to court and the company could risk up to five years in prison and €800,000 in fines.
The regulator has already announced that if the state defends Electronic Arts, then they will work to directly change the existing law against gambling. For the Belgian authorities, therefore, the purchase of a loot box at FIFA 18 is the same as playing the slot machines at Slots Million Online Casino.