FUT has decreed that it is not an “isolated game”
In surprising legal news, a Dutch court has overturned the €10 million fine imposed on Electronic Arts for its famous FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) loot box mechanic. The Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division upheld the publisher’s appeal, effectively overturning the 2020 ruling by the court in The Hague.
The Hague previously ruled that EA broke Dutch gambling laws via the sale of in-game FUT packs, handing the FIFA publisher a hefty fine of €500,000 for each week it continued to sell. sell the digital add-ons, with a maximum penalty set at €10. million. EA opted to call the decision bluff, appeal, and continue selling the digital trading cards in the meantime.
A risky venture that paid off (literally.)
Wednesday, as reported by EurogamerThe Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division – essentially the highest legal order in the Netherlands – has ruled that the purchase and opening of FUT packs does not constitute “isolated play” and that it is a ‘an element of luck deliberately used in a “game of skill” (Fifa himself).
“The vast majority of packs are obtained and used for participation in the game”, ruled the court. “As the packs are not a standalone game, they are not a game of chance and do not require a license. The publisher therefore did not infringe the law on games of chance and the Gaming Authority should therefore not have imposed a penalty payment on the publisher. The administrative litigation section “abrogated” the sanction imposed.
While this particular situation worked in EA’s favor, it’s been an eventful 12 months for the FIFA franchise. In the summer of 2022, a scandal dubbed “EAGate” saw employees selling high-ranking FUT cards “under the table” for ridiculous sums of money. More recently, it seems increasingly likely that EA and FIFA itself will go their separate ways, with the former considering a full name change, following the latter’s alleged doubling of licensing fees.
For decades, FIFA has been one of the most financially lucrative franchises in all of gaming. As such, all controversies and criticisms are just storms that EA will gladly ride out if, in the end, they are able to get things done.
EA’s Dutch FIFA loot box €10m fine canceled [Eurogamer]