Belgium Deems Loot Boxes as Gambling; Moves to Ban Them Across Europe

Belgium Gaming Commission Rules

A new perspective on loot boxes follows an intense week of controversy. Following the backlash against EA for its implementation of microtransactions in Star Wars: Battlefront II, the Belgium gaming commission has ruled on the question of whether or not in-game loot boxes constitute gambling. The answer is yes.

loot boxes

The report comes to us from Power-Up Gaming via VTM News. According to Belgium’s Gaming Commission, on the matter of purchasable loot boxes in digital games, “The mixing of money and addiction is gambling.” From how it sounds, the commission’s ruling is based on the fact that opening loot boxes can be addictive – The ability to purchase more with real-world currency, an act that sustains said addiction, makes the practice worth banning outright.

Belgium Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, added, “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.” Moreover, Geens is keen on taking the matter beyond Belgium’s borders, an effort that will see such digital implementations banned across Europe. “But that takes time,” he continued, “because we have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it.”

The move by Belgium’s Gaming Commission could have far-reaching consequences since many properties, not just Star Wars: Battlefront II (who placed microtransactions in the country’s cross-hairs), implement loot boxes in one form or another. Time will tell if the decision gains momentum in Europe. Simply check back for updates.

Do you consider loot boxes to be gambling? Do you agree with the decision to ban them? Do you play games that use loot boxes? Tell your thoughts in the comments below.