Over the weekend two European governments submitted a motion to ban loot boxes in the region. The first is Spain which aims to crack down on loot boxes and blame them for pathological behaviour in children. The second region is the Netherlands which now wants to regulate loot boxes in the country after discovering there’s a link between loot boxes and gambling. These countries follow Belgium where loot boxes are now currently banned and games that contain them aren’t able to release in the region.
The Spanish government believe that loot boxes promote “thoughtless, compulsive and even pathological” behaviour. Consumer Minister Alberto Garzon says that the ban is almost already done and in a few weeks the government will start to regulate gaming features that offer prizes with an economic value in real and virtual markets. This also includes NFTs or cryptocurrency.
Garzon says that the new law will allow gamers to have fun while preserving their health and, in particular, keep the most vulnerable safe from harm. The government has yet to share exact details on the new law but if they follow Belgium, it would see loot boxes banned in the region completely giving developers a challenge to release games in the country.
As for the Netherlands government, they have already put forward the motion to ban loot boxes. According to the report, 94 out of the 150 people in the House of Representatives have voted for the motion to ban the in-game purchase system in video games. In addition, 44 of the 75 people who have seats in the Senate have also voted for the motion. Basically, this motion is as good as approved.
The motion reads:
Noting that children in video games are manipulated to purchase microtransactions and that with so-called loot boxes there is also a form of gambling;
Noting that these transactions are addicting and can impose unexpected bills for these transactions, with all applying disruptive effects;
Noting that consumer associations from eighteen European countries together ask for regulation of these loot boxes;
Noting that the Dutch Gambling Authority attempted to regulate these loot boxes, but that the Council of State ultimately did not to along with this;
Noting that in Belgium these loot boxes are banned;
Ask the cabinet to investigate the possibility to also ban these loot boxes in the Netherlands and where necessary change the law,
The motion still needs to go through the House of Senate. However, most members of these parties have already shown their support. It is just a matter of time before the law is put in place.