EA Sports To Appeal €5 Million Fine For Loot Boxes In FIFA Games
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The fine was imposed by Dutch authorities, specifically the Netherlands Gambling Authority (KSA), in 2019. It has now been authorised by judges at the Court of The Hague.
From the date of the order on 15 October, EA were given three weeks to change the way in which loot boxes were utilised in their games.
If they did not comply, the gaming giant would be forced to pay €500,000 per week, for every week they do not adhere to the rules, up to a maximum penalty of €5 million.
However, EA are contesting the decision and so these fines will not come into effect until the outcome of that appeal is reached.
The Netherlands Gambling Authority have declared loot boxes illegal and deem packs on FIFA Ultimate Team, the game's most popular and profitable mode, to go against gambling regulations.
Video game industry analyst Piers Harding-Rolls believes the bulk of FIFA's $2bn comes from Ultimate Team, where gamers are able to pay actual money to purchase packs that contain random items - many of which are cards that can then be used in the mode.
Netherlands follows Belgium in challenging encouraging children to gamble in FIFA - with the latter's government forcing EA to scrap FIFA points in the country in January 2019 after opening a criminal investigation back in September 2018.
There have been conversations about the United Kingdom's government stance given the House of Lords have been taking a stand against loot boxes in recent times - with the "call for evidence" period coming to an end on 22 November.
Loot boxes (Fifa packs included hopefully) to be added to the UK Gambling act in a number of weeks.- JCC :flag_white:️ (@WorldofJCC) July 3, 2020
FIFA 21 could look a whole lot different if this sticks https://t.co/UcTspiUUO9
EA continue to reiterate their belief that FIFA loot boxes are not a form of gambling.
Reacting to the news, a statement to Eurogamer read: "Players all over the world have enjoyed FIFA and the FIFA Ultimate Team mode for many years and as such, we are disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community.
"We do not believe that our products and services violate gambling laws in any way. We are appealing this decision and we seek to avoid a situation impacting the ability of Dutch players to fully experience and enjoy FIFA Ultimate Team.
"Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive play. We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to all our players in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns."