FIFA Ultimate Team Could Soon Be Classified As 'Gambling' In The UK
EA Sports' fan-favourite Ultimate Team mode in the FIFA franchise could potentially be regulated under gambling laws, according to reports.
The widely popular mode, which was first introduced in FIFA 09, allows players to build their dream XIs and play against others online.
And players can choose to spend real-world money on purchasing packs or use coins earned in the game.
BBC now reports that the House of Lords Gambling Committee has called for video game loot boxes and microtransactions to be regulated under gambling laws.
The upper house has suggested that they should be classified under "games of chance," meaning they would fall under the Gambling Act 2005.
The House of Lords Gambling Committee's report said: "If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling."
A separate statement that accompanied the report urged that action against loot boxes should happen "immediately."
The statement reads: "The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation."
Loot boxes have been heavily criticised in the gaming industry and publishers have faced significant backlash over its implementation in games.
Belgium took action against loot boxes in 2018 after placing a ban on them, while the Netherlands took the same hardline stance in the same year.
Lord Grade, who is chairman of the committee, told the BBC that other countries have already regulated loot boxes because "they can see the dangers" of it teaching "kids to gamble."
According to the 77-year-old, the Gambling Act was "way behind what was actually happening in the market."
And Grade claimed that an "overwhelming majority" of the report's recommendations could be "enacted today" due to them not requiring legislation.
Ukie, which helps represent the UK gaming industry, has since responded to the committee report by saying it takes "these concerns seriously."
Dr Jo Twist, who is CEO of Ukie, said in a statement: "The majority of people in the UK play video games in one form or another, so we take these concerns seriously.
"We've worked hard to increase the use of family controls on consoles which can turn off or limit spending and we will be working closely with the DCMS during its review of the Gambling Act later this year."
EA Sports has come under fire for the use of microtransactions in the popular FIFA franchise.
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