EA will no longer need to pay a $11 million fine due to its notorious FIFA loot boxes, as overturned by the highest court in the Netherlands. Back in October 2020, EA needed to face a penalty of $550,000 for every week that loot boxes were sold in FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode as it was in violation of Dutch gambling rules. But after EA challenged the verdict and appealed, refusing to remove the loot boxes, it won’t be subject to what the Dutch apex court (Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State) calls an “unjustified penalty.”
Why Dutch courts decided to overturn the original ruling on FIFA loot boxes
Under Dutch gambling laws, a gaming license is needed for anything it determines to be a game of chance. The Dutch Gaming Authority originally determined FIFA loot boxes fall under this definition, thereby rendering a fine against EA which did not have a gaming license. However, now the Dutch courts find that the loot boxes don’t fit the definition upon further scrutiny:
“While packs cannot be opened while playing matches and quests, they can be opened in the same FUT mod. The fact that the packs are opened separately from the match or in-game task does not make it a separate game. Because the packs are not a stand-alone game, they are not a game of chance and do not require a license.
Therefore, the publisher did not violate the Betting and Gaming Act and the Games of Chance Authority should not have imposed a penalty on the publisher.”
It sounds like a technicality, but lawsuits have been won and lost over less. EA recently won another case concerning Ultimate Team player packs in multiple EA Sports titles after the plaintiffs learned about EA’s Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment technology and dismissed their case.
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