Dutch FIFA $11m lootbox fine overturned

Dutch FIFA $11m lootbox fine overturned

The Court of the Hague has ruled that Electronic Arts should not be fined €10 million ($11 million) over loot boxes in FIFA Ultimate Team.

As reported by Eurogamer, the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division has overturned the massive fine, which saw EA having to pay out €500,000 each week it did not pull its Ultimate Team packs from FIFA. These were thought to be in violation of the Netherlands' gambling laws.

The country's highest court said that buying and opening packs was part of a wider "game of skill" and that there was an element of change.

"The vast majority of packs are obtained by and used for game participation," the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division ruled. "The tradability of the packs on the black market is relative. The black market mainly focuses on trading complete accounts rather than individual packs or their contents. Since the packs are not a standalone game, they are not a game of chance and do not require a licence.

"The publisher has therefore not violated the Games of Chance Act and the Gaming Authority should therefore not have imposed a penalty payment on the publisher. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division has 'revoked' the imposed penalty. This means that the penalty payment is off the table."

An EA spokesperson added: "Today's decision confirms our belief that no aspect of FIFA or FIFA Ultimate Team can be considered gambling under Dutch law. At Electronic Arts our approach to game design puts choice, fun, fairness and value first. Our priority has always been to make sure that our players in the Netherlands and across the world have a positive experience."

EA has been at the centre of controversy around its in-game business models since 2017's Star Wars Battlefront II.

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.