Netherlands Gambling Authority fines EA $5.86m over FIFA loot boxes

Netherlands Gambling Authority fines EA $5.86m over FIFA loot boxes

US publishing giant Electronic Arts is being fined €5m ($5.86m) by the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA).

In a post on the organisation's website, it wrote that the company has been violating local law by selling loot boxes for its FIFA football titles. In 2018, this business model was classified as gambling in some video games in the Netherlands as they were not in compliance with local law.

"The KSA believes it is crucial to shield vulnerable groups, such as minors, from exposure to gambling," the organisation's chair René Jansen said.

"For that reason, the KSA supports a strict separation between gaming and gambling. Gamers are often young and therefore particularly susceptible to developing an addiction. As such, gambling elements have no place in games."

EA has, naturally, said that it will be appealing the decision.

“Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years and as such, we are disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community,” the company's Benelux country manager Dirk Scholing told PCGamesN.

“We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and we seek to avoid a situation impacting the ability of Dutch players to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team. Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive play. We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to all our players in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns.”

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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.