EA Under Criminal Investigation Over Lootboxes in Belgian Court
After the Star Wars Battlefront 2 lootbox controversy came to a head last year, the Belgium Gaming Commission had launched an inquiry into whether lootboxes offered by SW:BFII and other popular games such as Overwatch and CS:GO were in violation of Belgium's gambling laws. Having concluded the investigation earlier this year, the BGC found that EA, Blizzard and Valve were all guilty of not complying with Belgium's national gambling legislations.
After the BGC's ruling came down, Blizzard and Valve both halted sales of lootboxes within Belgium in order to avoid incurring potential fines and further government backlash. EA however, apparently had other ideas.
Decidedly ignoring the BGC's new ruling, EA has continued to brazenly offer its "Ultimate Team Packs" lootboxes for sale in FIFA 18, and has not budged from its planned sale of such packs in their upcoming FIFA 19 title.
At the behest of the BGC, the Belgian public prosecutor's office is currently investigating criminal charges against EA for failure to remove the contravening lootboxes in question.
While it seems that EA is stubbornly not backing down without a fight, Peter Naessens, the BGC's general director, is more than willing to meet the gaming giant head on. Naessen has expressed the BGC's determination to uphold consumer protections, and should the court reverse its previous ruling on categorizing lootbox mechanics as a form of gambling, the commission will seek to revise the current gambling legislation to specifically include lootboxes.