FIFA Ultimate Team faces a court case!
In video games, we often come across loot boxes that are packed with virtual items stretching from simple customization of your player's avatar to a change of equipment or weapons. These allow the users to spend real money by unlocking the items which don't always guarantee you get something you want, which might fall into the category of gambling.
In April 2018, the Belgium Gambling Commission (BGC) ruled that 'loot boxes' were gambling under the Belgian law and therefore considered to be illegal. Same with Netherlands. while the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) designated it as non-gambling.
FIFA is one of the most popular video games around the world and their FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) is now a subject of a legal case in France questioning whether Team packs should be classified as gambling or not. The FUT has a chunk of £850 million in annual sales at risk. A selection of 12 'rare gold' players will set the user 2,000 Fifa points over £10 worth with a less than 5% chance of getting a valuable player.
According to the Guardian newspaper, 32-year old Mamadou 'spent €600 (£500) since FIFA 20 came out'. He got Kostas Manolas from his costly packs rather than world-class footballers like Messi or Ronaldo or Neymar Jr. "I didn’t even know him! I put so much money in just to get Manolas. People I know have put in €2,000 or €3,000, it’s crazy. The amount I have spent has made me fall behind on my rent payments."
Back in 2018, the Belgian Minister of Justice, Koen Geens said that several games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fifa 18 and Overwatch, were in violation of the country's gaming legislation and game developers that failed to comply could face heavy fines or even prison sentences.
Several debates have been cropping up regarding the entire issue, the UKGC Chief Executive, Neil McCarthur told the government that it did not represent gambling under the present law, stating that "There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not. Some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry, they are not gambling but they are a lot like a lottery."
The joint report of Dr David Zendle of York St John University and Dr Paul Cairns of University of York in their recent research study on loot boxes to problem gambling stated that "Our research suggests that loot boxes either literally cause problem gambling; or, alternatively, allow games companies to exploit serious gambling problems amongst their customers for massive monetary gain."
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