Belgian Gaming Commission declares loot boxes illegal
The Belgian Gaming Commission has declared loot boxes illegal, following in the footsteps of their Dutch counterparts who reached a similar decision last week.
The commission had been investigating loot box usage in popular titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2, FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and concluded that Battlefront is the only release not currently in violation of its gaming laws -- purely because EA completely reworked the title's loot boxes around a month ago.
According to a statement from Belgum's Minister of Justice, Koen Geens (translated by Eurogamer), the loot boxes in the other three titles have been branded "games of chance," and are therefore illegal under current regulations.
Geens has demanded that loot boxes are pulled from all three offending titles immediately. If the game's publishers refuse to comply, they could be hit with a €800,000 ($975,000) fine, and might even face a prison sentence.
While talk of jail time might seem premature, Geens is taking such a hard-line stance because of the perceived risk loot boxes present to children and young adults.
"We have already taken numerous measures to protect both minors and adults against the influence of, among other things, gambling advertising," he said. "It is often children who come into contact with such systems and we cannot allow that […] especially when they are looking for fun in a video game."
Moving forward, Geens intends to get in touch with game developers and publishers to push for the removal of loot boxes sooner rather than later.