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It’s Official: Netherlands and Belgium Have Declared Loot Boxes are Illegal

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

Will other countries follow?


Just one week after the Netherlands declared loot boxes illegal, Belgium joined the party. Will Indonesia have the same impact?

After the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversial loot box case, many countries were discussing further actions they would take.

The Netherlands became one of the first countries to officially state that they forbid loot boxes.

A report claims that Netherlands Gaming Authority (NGA) has been investigating loot box usage in 10 unnamed titles. These game titles are speculated to include: FIFA 18Dota 2PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Rocket League. 

The NGA claims that offering gamers “a chance” with real money is prohibited without a license. They also believe that loot box is similar to a slot machine and roulette games which are considered gambling.

A week after the Netherlands agreed to ban loot boxes, the Belgian Gaming Commission did the same thing. According to a statement from Belgium’s Minister of Justice, loot boxes from certain games have been declared banned.

These games include Star Wars Battlefront 2FIFA 18Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Only Battlefront is the game that they do not ban simply because of EA’s new loot box system.

The Belgian commision has confirmed that the loot boxes from these three games to be pulled off immediately. If the game’s publishers refuse to do so, they could be hit with a US$975,000 fine, and might even face a prison sentence.

So what does this mean for developers, specifically in Indonesia? Let’s take a look at gambling definition based on law first:

In Indonesia, gambling’s definition is regulated in the Indonesian Book of Criminal Law Article 303. There are some elements that define gambling:

  1. There is hope of winning
  2. It is based on luck
  3. An incentive for the winner
  4. The chance of winning is higher if there is an element of intelligence or agility

What is the example? Is football match a gambling activity because the winner gets a prize? Of course not, because it doesn’t fit the criteria above. The hope of winning is there but it’s not based on luck, there are many elements involved.

Loot Box and Gacha in the Eye of Indonesian Law, Is It Gambling or Not?

What does the Indonesian law say about the loot box system that has been highlighted for the past month? Is it gambling, a game, or undecided?

Ami Raditya, S.H.,M.Kn, a law observer and also game enthusiast in our previous article, stated:

“I think it still in the grey area but I personally inclined to say that they are not gambling, at least in Indonesian positive law. Of course things can change because law is dynamic and always evolving. But for now, we can not categorize loot box and gacha as gambling.”

So for Indonesia, there might be a slight chance, but for now, it’s still biased.

Edited by Devi

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