A Dutch court overturned a 2020 ruling that EA Sports’ FIFA Ultimate Team card packs were a form of gambling and rescinded a €10 million fine hit for breaking Dutch gambling laws. .
The Dutch Department of Public Administration, the highest court in the Netherlands, on Wednesday ruled that buying and opening packs of FUT cards “is not an isolated game”, according to the Dutch Council of State. Orchid in a statement announcing the verdict (translated by Google). “They are part of the game of skill and add an element of chance to the game.”
“The vast majority of packages are acquired and used to enter the game,” the statement added. Furthermore, “the tradability of packages on the black market is relative. The black market is primarily focused on trading complete accounts rather than individual packages or their contents.”
Electronic Arts welcomed the ruling in a statement to Polygon. “This decision confirms our belief that no aspect of FIFA or FIFA Ultimate Team can be considered gambling under Dutch law,” the company said. “At Electronic Arts, our game design approach puts choice, fun, fairness and value first. Our priority has always been to ensure that our players in the Netherlands and around the world have a positive experience. ”
In the initial ruling, the Court of The Hague ordered Electronic Arts to remove FIFA card packs from its games and fined them €500,000 for each week of non-compliance, up to a maximum of €10 million. EA said it will appeal the decision and will not sell the packages.
Ultimate Team, a mode that spans EA Sports’ FIFA, Madden NFL and NHL series, has generated more than $1 billion in revenue for Electronic Arts each fiscal year since 2018. The company has grossed 1.62 billion. dollars from Ultimate Team microtransactions for the financial year ending March 2021.
However, in January 2019, Electronic Arts complies with the Belgian authorities and pulls FIFA Points, which players can buy with real money, from the sale in that country. Belgian regulators in September 2018 stated that the loot boxes in Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensiveand FIFA 18 is an “illegal game of chance.” Blizzard Entertainment, Valve Corp. and 2K Games have also disabled items that are deprecated for sale in Belgium in their games.
Full court decision (in Dutch) available online.
https://www.polygon.com/22972744/fifa-ultimate-team-gambling-dutch-fine-overruled-electronic-arts Dutch Court of Appeal declares FIFA Ultimate Team not to gamble