Belgium gambling commission calls for loot box ban following Star Wars Battlefront mess

Belgium gambling commission calls for loot box ban following Star Wars Battlefront mess

Belgium's Gambling Commission has delivered its ruling on whether loot crates in video games constitute gambling and the results aren't looking good for publishers involved.

The organisation, as reported via VTM News, has concluded that yes, video game loot boxes are gambling and has called for them to be banned if consumers do not know what they are getting with the purchase.

"The mixing of money and addiction is gambling", the organisation said.

It continued: "We have to go to Europe. We will certainly try to ban it."

"Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child."

Belgium's gambling authority started looking into the issue last week thanks to the controversy surrounding their implementation in Star Wars Battlefront II. Publisher EA had to remove microtransactions in its game after license holders Disney and LucasFilm got involved with the matter.

Despite the mess surrounding the issue, EA insists that loot boxes are not gambling and one Wall Street analyst thinks that EA undercharged for Star Wars Battlefront II

Blizzard's Overwatch was also part of the investigation; earlier this month, Blizzard chief Mike Morhaime said he felt that the title did not belong in the loot crate conversation.

PCGamesInsider raised concerns about the impact of extreme monetisation last month.

Video games have come a long way in the last decade or so, going from a social pariah that erodes the mind s of the youth to being a legitimate art form and business. Fears around publishers exploiting consumers or forcing them to spend money to maybe win something are not going to help our industry's mainstream perception.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.