Valve pulls CS:GO and Dota 2 item trading after Netherlands brings down hammer on loot boxes

Valve pulls CS:GO and Dota 2 item trading after Netherlands brings down hammer on loot boxes

PC games giant Valve is the first publisher to be forced to pull loot boxes from the Netherlands.

As of today, Dutch players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 are greeted with a message from the company saying that item transfers or trades were no longer possible, per Reddit user NasCS.

This is down to the region's gambling authority declaring that loot boxes were, in fact, a form of gambling following the Star Wars Battlefront II disaster at the end of 2017 for violating the country's Betting and Gaming Act. Companies had until today (June 20th, 2018) to get their act together and pull loot boxes from their games.

Since the initial ruling, Valve claims that it has received two letters from the Dutch Gaming Authority, stating that both CS:GO and Dota 2 violate the aforementioned law due to them including loot boxes. Saying it doesn't know what else to do, Valve has suspended trading of items as that is the point where the Dutch Gaming Authority claims that loot boxes cross into gambling territory.

"In May, we received two letters from the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit, stating that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 contain 'loot boxes' that violate the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act," the post read.

"The Kansspelautoriteit accusation is different from how other countries think about loot boxes, so we hired a Dutch legal counsel, looked at the recent Study into Loot Boxes published by the Kansspelautoriteit, and learned more about Dutch law. We still don't understand or agree with the Kansspelautoriteit's legal conclusion, and we've responded to explain more about CS:GO and Dota 2.

In the meantime, we have a threat from the Kansspelautoriteit to prosecute Valve if we don't implement a remedy by June 20th. The letters don't tell us how to do that, but the Study into Loot Boxes does contain one rather simplistic statement:

"'Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are not transferable.'.

"So for now, our only practical alternative is to disable trading and Steam Marketplace transfers for CS: GO and Dota 2 items for Dutch customers. We apologise to you for this inconvenience. We hope that, after more engagement with the Kansspelautoriteit, they may refine their legal demands so that we can find a solution that is less inconvenient."

Valve's games are but the first two to drop item trading. Other titles rumoured to be in the eyes of the Dutch Gaming Authority include FIFA 18, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Rocket League,

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.


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