And so it begins. It didn’t take long after The Netherlands made their own ruling that loot boxes were a form of gambling for other European countries to explore the matter and make their own decisions. Today, Belguim just made one that could be the start of a lengthy legal process in their country for both sides. Eurogamer is reporting that the Belgian Gaming Commission looked into several games, including CS:GO, FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Star Wars: Battlefront II and determined that all of the games except for Star Wars violated the country’s gambling laws. Star Wars only got a pass because EA removed the content before they could examine it in its original form, but we’re guessing it would have violated the law too.
The country is now demanding that they are removed from the games, and if they fail to do so, the punishment for failing to do so is (according to the article) a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to €800k. Since the games are already pre-built to work on a specific model worldwide, it would mean they’d have to remove them for all copies globally, which we know they just won’t do, which means at some point if Belgium officials push to have the law enforced, you’ll probably see a massive legal battle on the horizon. Keep in mind too that Belgium is a member of the European Union, and that they made look into the matter as well if a member has decided this is illegal for them, which could mean seeing 48 countries and a good chunk of the European market possibly being a part of this down the line.
Right now, the country wants to talk with game publishers to get a dialog going and see if they can find an amicable solution to the matter. We’ll just have to see how that all shakes out over time.