Belgian Gaming Commission rules after analysis: “Paying loot boxes are games of chance”

The protection of players and of vulnerable groups such as, in particular, minors is the most important mission for the Belgian Gaming Commission. When world-wide commotion arose in November 2017 about the so-called loot boxes in video games, engineers, lawyers and IT specialists at the Gaming Commission started an analysis of various video games in order to determine whether the loot boxes or other “in-game elements” featured in them met the definition of a game of chance. Specifically the following games were analysed: Overwatch, Star Wars Battlefront II, FIFA 18 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The analysis was completed in April 2018. Today, the Gaming Commission can provide greater clarity about this phenomenon. The Gaming Commission has reached the conclusion that paying loot boxes are games of chance. If these are operated further, a criminal approach is indicated. Since the phenomenon goes farther than the 4 games analysed, the Gaming Commission is making a number of recommendations for both those responsible for the policy, the game manufacturers, the game platforms and the licensors such as FIFA.

Peter Naessens, Director at the Gaming Commission: “Paying loot boxes are no innocent component of video games which present themselves as a game of skill. Players are tempted and misled by them and none of the protective measures for games of chance are applied. Now that it has become clear that children and vulnerable persons in particular are being exposed to this without any protection, the game producers, and also the parties involved, are called upon to put a stop to this practice.”