On April 19th, 2018 the Netherlands Gaming Authority (Kansspelautoriteit) published a study and press release outlining their findings and rulings on loot boxes.
Netherlands Gaming Authority study and press release in a nutshell
- Netherlands Gaming Authority has come out with a standard to differentiate loot boxes between gaming and gambling.
- Netherlands Gaming Authority studied the loot boxes and the ability to trade the items outside the game to other players.
- Loot boxes where the content is not transferable are not illegal (therefore, are seen as gaming).
- Loot boxes where the content is transferable are illegal (and a seen as gambling).
- Loot boxes are prohibited under current gambling laws and regulations if the items from the loot boxes are transferable.
- Netherlands Gaming Authority recommends game developers to disable functionalities that allow items to be converted into money or transferred to other parties (including other players).
- Game developers can update their games that are in breach of the standard until June 20th, 2018.
Dutch Games Association will be closely monitoring and evaluating this case.
Below you’ll find some links which provide additional information on this topic.
Question we get asked on this topic
Do you know which games the Gaming Authority considered in its study?
10 games were studied. At the time of writing Netherlands Gaming Authority hasn’t revealed the games they studied.
Are games containing loot boxes forbidden now?
That depends if the content of the loot box is transferable. If the content of the loot box is not transferable, the game is not forbidden.
What will happen after June 20th, 2018?
At the time of writing this is unknown. Netherlands Gaming Authority has stated that they can take enforcement actions against providers with loot boxes that do not comply with the standard. These actions can include fines or a (sales) ban.
Will this set a precedent in Europe?
Netherlands Gaming Authority told GamesIndustry.biz they want to work and act together with other European regulators. Other EU members states are still conducting their own studies.
The Netherlands Gaming Authority study into loot boxes
The Netherlands Gaming Authority FAQ on loot boxes and the study in a nutshell
The Netherlands Gaming Authority press release
Some articles providing background information
- NOS: Populaire games overtreden gokregels (Dutch)
- Juniper Research: Skins Create Unregulated Gambling Market
- GamesIndustry.biz: Loot boxes in leading games violate Dutch gambling legislation
- GamesIndustry.biz: Netherlands pushes for EU-wide loot box legislation