Six Dutch members of the House of Representatives from different political parties have put forward a bipartisan bill to ban loot boxes from video games in the country.
In October 2020, the court in the Hague found that the Netherlands Gaming Authority would be able to fine Electronic Arts (EA) £430,193 (€500,000) per week until they removed loot boxes (packs) from FIFA Ultimate Team. This decision was overturned in March 2022 by the Dutch Council of the State following a challenge from the developers (via VGC).
This most recent bill notes these events, and calls for an investigation and potentially a ban on loot boxes, calling them a form of gambling and stating that children have easy access to them.
The House members who sponsored the bill are Henri Bontenbal of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Don Ceder of the Christian Union (CU), Queeny Rajkowski of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Renske Leijten of the Socialist Party (SP), Lisa van Ginneken of Democrats 66 (D66) and Kauthar Bouchallikht of the Green Left (GL).
The Netherlands uses a two-chamber political system meaning a bill must pass the House of Representatives and the Senate before being ratified by the monarch. The supporting parties control 94 of the 150 seats in the House, and 44 out of 75 seats in the Senate.
With this level of bipartisan support, it looks likely to pass. If it passes, this new motion will classify loot boxes as gambling, forcing developers to permanently remove these features from their games if they want to sell them in the Netherlands.
Loot boxes have already been permanently banned in neighbouring Belgium since 2018. Recently, Diablo Immortal was not released in Belgium and the Netherlands due to their respective gambling laws.