What are loot boxes?

The matter of loot boxes was recently the subject of much debate. Below you can find more information about the current situation.

-              What are loot boxes?

Loot boxes are a kind of treasure chests in video games. These can be earned during gaming, or they can be paid for. The content of a loot box is not known beforehand. In some cases it is possible that a loot box meets the definition of a game of chance  (bet + random outcome + chance of profit/loss). In Belgium the organisation of games of chance is forbidden unless licensed by the Gaming Commission.

-              Are measures being taken against loot boxes?

Technicians, legal experts and IT specialists from the Gaming Commission are currently analysing a number of video games in order to determine whether the loot boxes or other elements built into those video games meet the definition of a game of chance. After this analysis the Gaming Commission will be able to shed more light on this phenomenon

-              Do you notice any loot boxes in a game?

If you notice that a loot box is integrated into a game then you can report it to the Gaming Commission via info@gamingcommission.be.

 

What is match fixing?

Match fixing is a regularly talked-about subject In the media. Below you will find additional information about this issue and the sanctions.

Match fixing is prohibited. Article 4 §3 of the Game of Chance Act states: It is prohibited for anyone to participate in any game of chance whatsoever if the person involved may have a direct influence on the result.

That is why sportspersons are prohibited from placing bets on their own games. After all, they can influence the development of the game, thus compromising the integrity of the game.

The Game of Chance Act is criminal law. Violating the act is subject to prosecution. The perpetrators can be punished with imprisonment for six months to five years and with a fine of €800 to €800,000.

The Gaming Commission may issue a warrant on those sportspersons who have placed a bet on their own games. It did so on several occasions in 2007 in respect of prominent players.

If you are confronted with match fixing then you can report this to the Gaming Commission via info@gamingcommission.be.

Is advertisement for games of chance allowed?

There is a current discussion on a Royal Decree on rules for gambling advertising, drawn up by the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens. This Royal Decree should make it possible to more quickly determine what is permitted and what not.

Advertising is currently permitted within the context of Article 4 of the Game of Chance Act of 7 May 1999 concerning games of chance, betting, games of chance facilities and protection of gamers. This states: §2. It is prohibited for anyone to participate in a game of chance, to facilitate the operation of a game of chance or gaming establishment, to advertise a game of chance or a gaming establishment, or recruit players for a game of chance or gaming establishment when the person involved knows that it concerns the operation of a game of chance or a gaming establishment which is not licensed in accordance with this Act.

This means that in Belgium the operators licensed by the Gaming Commission are permitted to advertise their games of chance. This should encourage gamers to restrict themselves to licensed games when they wish to gamble. If the licensed games are insufficiently known to the gamers then they will run the risk of going to unlicensed (that is, illegal) game of chance operators that provide no guarantee for the protection of the gamers. In other words, advertising by licensed operators is in line with the Belgian government’s policy of channelling gamers - if they wish to gamble - towards a controlled environment.

The Gaming Commission has the authority to halt an advertising campaign by a gaming operator if it is found that the law is violated.