EA fined millions by Dutch court over FIFA Ultimate Team loot boxes
FUT card packs have been found to be in contravention of Dutch law
A court in the Netherlands has confirmed that the country's gambling authority can proceed with a fine of €10 million towards Electronic Arts.
The fine pertains to the company's FIFA series and, in particular, loot boxes within its FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) game mode.
In 2018, the Netherlands Gambling Authority (Kansspelautoriteit aka Ksa) told the game's developers that the loot boxes were in violation of the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act which forbids gambling in video games, and gave them a period of time to make their games compliant.
EA did not make the game compliant, and was later fined, before contesting the decision. The initial fine (a maximum fine of €5m) was placed upon EA, with the latest of the same amount being handed to EA Swiss Sàrl.
Thursday's decision by a district court is just the latest in a long line of controversies surrounding FUT, which critics have described as being akin to a slot machine, and at times addictive for gamers.
The Dutch court acknowledged EA's claim that FUT packs could not be converted for money, but highlighted the fact that people could profit from them, particularly in private deals between players.
"The game's providers are the parties that decided to include a gambling game within the game, thereby breaking the law," the court said. "The Ksa has pointed this out to Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl repeatedly. Electronic Arts Inc. and Electronic Arts Swiss Sàrl are therefore itself responsible for changing the game such that it is no longer in contravention of the law. How exactly it accomplishes this is at their discretion."
According to Eurogamer, EA plans to appeal the decision.