This has been a long and drawn-out battle, so let us review: Back in 2017 when the outrage against lockboxes was at its highest point after EA’s flagrant cash grab in Star Wars Battlefront II, the gambling authorities of Belgium and the Netherlands were leading the charge against the practice, outright labeling the scheme as gambling and therefore illegal. That led to an order for companies to remove lockboxes from games, including EA and its FIFA titles, or face fines. EA refused to comply, however, leading to criminal investigations from both countries, which ultimately led to EA first displaying lockbox odds and then ending the sale of FIFA points in Belgium altogether.
This brings us to the most recent development, which sees a Netherlands District Court siding with the Dutch government and upholding weekly fines of €250K (just over $292K USD) against both EA and its satellite office EA Swiss Sàrl, up to a total of €10M (over $11M USD) until FIFA lockboxes are removed from the series entirely.
Naturally, EA is ready to appeal, saying the company is “disappointed by this decision and what it may mean for our Dutch community.” Furthermore, EA seems keen to keep its mechanic in place while abiding by Dutch gambling laws, saying, “Electronic Arts is deeply committed to positive play. We seek to bring choice, fairness, value and fun to all our players in all of our games. We remain open to discussions with the Netherlands Gambling Authority and other stakeholders to understand and explore solutions to address any concerns.”