Dutch Gambling Authority Gives Game Developers Deadline to Fix Illegal Loot Boxes

Four out of Ten Loot Boxes Violate Dutch Gambling Law, Local Regulator Finds

In a recent press release published on the official Gaming Authority website, the commission noted that after doing a study, they found that four out of the 10 games featuring loot boxes contravened the gambling regulations, and publishers will be forced to either remove the loot boxes or bring them in line with the gambling regulations set within the Netherlands.

Each game featured paid loot boxes containing items which could be traded, providing the trader economic value. This is because coincidence determines the contents of these loot boxes.

"Offering this type of game of chance to Dutch players without a license is prohibited", says the Dutch Gaming Authority. "Players can earn money if they get a rare item. As a licence can not be issued for this offering under the applicable legislation, these loot boxes are prohibited in the Netherlands", it states.

While not every game examined by the DGA was found to be noncompliant with gambling laws, that did not stop the group from admonishing them. "These games do not satisfy the definition of a prize in Article 1 of the Betting and Gaming Act".

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The Dutch Gaming Authority (which also regulates gambling in the Netherlands) has announced that loot boxes are now indeed to be considered gambling.

The study was undertaken exclusively to clarify the "ambiguities" surrounding the question of loot box prohibitions in the country.

According to the regulator's findings, loot boxes have moderate to high risk potential for addiction.

Research author Lauren Foye explained: "Skins are acquired both through playing video games and from opening purchased loot boxes".

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Presentation, rather than the loot itself, is the primary driver of addictiveness: Those on the high end of the scale "have integral elements that are similar to slot machines", the report said, including unlimited access, the ability to cash out virtual goods, particular visual and sound effects, and a "near miss" effect that encourages the feeling of having almost won something. In terms of addiction potential, such loot boxes compare to blackjack or roulette, while loot boxes with a lower addiction risk potential are comparable with small-scale bingo.

"This argument is not valid", it states.

The debate over Loot boxes and how akin to gambling they are is one that will likely continue for a long time.

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