Dutch Court: EA Didn’t Violate Gambling Law

€10 million fine removed.

Did Electronic Arts violate anti-gambling laws in 2019 with FIFA Ultimate Team? The Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division says no. In a ruling handed down today, the court determined that EA’s loot boxes in FIFA do not constitute gambling under the country’s laws, that The Gaming Authority had acted incorrectly in imposing a penalty, and has removed the €10 million fine handed down in 2019.

The Gaming Authority should not have imposed a penalty payment on the publisher of the FIFA22 computer game in 2019. The so-called packs or ‘loot boxes’ with which virtual football players can be traded on a virtual transfer market in FIFA22 are not games of chance that required a license. The publisher has not broken the law.

The judgment goes on to state that black market trades are not relevant to the operation of FIFA Ultimate Team packs. It will have to be seen how EA changes its business in Belgium going forward, as the company had previously stopped selling FIFA points in Belgium under pressure from gambling authorities.

The tradability of the packs on the black market is relative. The black market mainly focuses on trading complete accounts rather than individual packs or their contents. Since the packs are not a standalone game, they are not a game of chance and do not require a license. The publisher has therefore not violated the Games of Chance Act and the Gaming Authority should therefore not have imposed a penalty payment on the publisher.

Source: Court ruling

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