Dutch Gaming Authorities bans loot boxes – Valve first to go

Published by CasinoTopsOnline on June 29, 2018 in Industry News

Valve Loot Boxes NewsWhile some countries are easing up on gambling activities others are tightening their grip. 

Earlier this year it was mentioned that the Dutch Gaming Authorities has started a no nonsense crackdown on video games that include any form of gambling. 

And as promises they’ve remained true to their word with Valve being the first to go down. 

Dutch loot box crackdown is real

For those who haven’t been around, the Dutch Gaming Authorities have confirmed that loot boxes are viewed as forms of gambling and deemed illegal.

The authorities gave game designers until the 20th of June to remove any and all loot boxes from their offering. The Dutch authorities further made it clear that all game designers who has not made an effort to remove the loot boxes from their games would be prosecuted. 

The video game giant Valve were the first casualties in the Dutch Gaming Authorities crackdown on controversial loot boxes. According to sources a study done by the Dutch Gaming Authority also known as Kansspelautoriteit in April revealed that nearly 4 out of 10 loot boxes in video games were breaking the gambling laws. 

In the official report it stated that the content of loot boxes where determined by chance and because the prizes can be traded outside of the game it has market value. For this reason it is seen as games of chance and it is illegal to offer these types of games to Dutch Consumers without a license. 

In a response to what many consider an unfair evaluation Valve went ahead and removed loot boxes for Couter-Strike: Global Offensive and DOTA 2 from the Dutch version of Steam. Furthermore, Valve released a statement on Steam saying that they don’t understand or agree with the legal conclusion made by the Kansspelautoriteit. However all they can do for now is disable trading and Steam Marketplace transfers on both Dota 2 and SC:GO items for Dutch Customers. Thus, Dutch players will still be able to enjoy the games but they won’t have the ability to trade items or cash in on loot box rewards at all. 

Strict penalties await

The Dutch authorities has made it clear that they will not be playing around in this matter especially since the games can be accessed by minors. 

The Kansspelautoriteit stated that they could impose administrative fines of up to $958,000 or even 10% of the company’s worldwide turnover, depending on which is higher. These fines will be imposed if the companies don’t make enough adjustments to the games to rule out the gambling element. 

Dutch authorities got their inspiration from Belgium who were the first to take a hard stance against loot boxes. The Belgium Minister of Justice, Koen Geens went as far as making it clear that FIFA18, Overwatch and CS:GO loot boxes games of chance are subject to the Belgium gambling laws. 

Big things are happening in the industry and many video games might be subjected to a range of changes to ensure it can’t be considered games of chance. 

The main concern with games such as FIFA18, Battlegrounds and CS:GO is that it has elements that can be considered gambling. Others believe that the authorities are grasping at straws and making a big deal out of an innocent and fun video game.