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NEWS 2 July 2018

France stops short of classifying loot boxes as 'gambling'

By Islam Soliman

France’s gaming commission ARJEL has held off from classifying loot boxes as a form of gambling - at least for now.

 A change in classification would require the approval of several French authorities and it would have a widespread impact, Baker & McKenzie associate Sebastian Schwiddessen said.

"France is a key market, an adverse decision on loot boxes would have a much greater impact than the decisions taken by the Belgian and Dutch gambling regulators had," Schwiddessen said in an analysis published on his LinkedIn account.

The French investigation is still ongoing, however.

Belgian and Dutch gambling authorities have indicated that their actions are being coordinated with other authorities, Schwiddessen added.

In April, Belgium concluded that Overwatch, FIFA 18, and CS: GO’s are a game of chance subject to Belgian gambling law. Publishers could face fines or prison terms under gaming legislation. Dutch authorities have followed Belgium by taking a hard stance against loot boxes. 

In order for ARJEL to categorise and regulate loot boxes as a form of gambling, they must contain real-life monetary value, an element of chance, and a reward, Schwiddessen said.

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