Are Loot Boxes Legal in the Netherlands


As an introduction to the topic, we will begin this informative blog post by addressing the definition of loot boxes. Once that is done, our article will inspect the situation with the loot boxes in the Netherlands, and discuss the latest political movements in that regard. To top all of this, we will look at some of the most popular online games that offer loot boxes and see their availability in the Netherlands. Let’s begin right away.

Loot Boxes – A Quick Summary

Loot boxes are features in video games that can be exchanged for in-game currencies, items acquired through gameplay, or purchased with real-world money. Depending on the exact game that we are talking about, the shape and form of the “loot boxes” may vary, but their content remains similar.

Loot Boxes

By opening a loot box, online players can obtain various items. Some are cosmetic, like hero outfits, skins, pets, and mounts, and do not affect the gameplay in any way. Other loot boxes are presented like the bonus offers of the best Dutch online casinos. In other words, they contain cards, characters, or items that might even give you an edge over the free-to-play users.

The loot box concept first appears in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) between 2004 and 2007. Since then, the feature has only grown in dept and number as it continues to appear in many titles even to this day. The loot boxes were mostly popularised by colossal titles like Star Wars Battlefront 2, CS: GO, Overwatch, FIFA, and others. That said, let’s take a look at the top loot boxes games in the NL below:

  • FIFA (Top Football Game with Loot Boxes)
  • Diablo Immortal (Popular Mobile Game with Loot Boxes)
  • Lost Ark (Outstanding Gameplay & Available Microtransactions)
  • Overwatch (Great FPS with Free-To-Play Loot Boxes)
  • World of Warships (Offering Loot Boxes with Expected Value)

It is important to point out that by no means do we advertise or encourage you to launch any of these games and conduct microtransactions. In fact, as you will find out later in our blog post, the Dutch government considers the distribution of some of these games’ loot boxes illegal. But we will get into that in a bit.

Netherlands – Legal or Not?

Now that we have clarified what loot boxes are, it is time for us to find out how this monetisation is doing in the Netherlands. Currently, the northern member of the Benelux does not consider loot boxes a form of gambling; thus, they are not named illegal. However, the government had continuously raised concerns about the unregulated selling of loot boxes.

Currently, there is a motion in the Dutch government that prompts for amendments to the Netherlands’ gambling laws and placing a ban on loot boxes. One of the main reasons for that was the FIFA loot boxes court trials. The Netherlands’ District Court ruled the game’s loot boxes system as a stand-alone game of chance that could be accessed and used separately from the FIFA matches.

Person Writing on a Sheet of Paper

In response, EA argued that the packs had to be considered as adding an element of chance to an, otherwise, a game of skill. The entertainment company also suggested that the authorities consider that most of the EA loot boxes are obtained through gameplay by winning a match. Therefore, only a small percentage of those packs are bought using real money.

The gaming company also argues that the theoretical possibility that EA loot boxes are opened and their rewards sold should not be sufficient enough to classify the packs as a stand-alone game of chance. The Dutch court overturned an $11 million fine against Electronic Arts’ FIFA Ultimate Team packs (the EA loot boxes). Eventually, the entertainment company appealed against the decision and won the case, but the movement against the loot boxes was there to last.

The Government Is Considering Banning Loot Boxes

Following the case with the EA loot boxes, representatives of six political parties in the Netherlands have filed a motion calling for stricter regulation of loot boxes in video games or even banning them completely. The motion describes that most loot boxes in the Netherlands are addictive and designed to “manipulate children” into spending money and even “disrupt families.”

Overall, it seems as if the public and political desire to ban the practice in the Netherlands is quite widespread. Such a move poses a threat to companies that have become overly reliant on loot boxes as a steady source of revenue.

Gavel and a Book on Top of Money

Furthermore, the Netherlands Online Gambling Association argues that the loot box games are designed in such a way to actively stimulate microtransactions from its users. This can be very dangerous, especially when promoting products directly to youngsters and children, which have little to no experience with the dangers of online game purchases.

Many games continuously present new cosmetic items to their player base; the only way to obtain them is by purchasing loot boxes. Of course, most titles offer a free-to-play way of buying the loot crates, but that is often designed to take some “heavy game grinding.” Meanwhile, a tasty bundle of loot boxes is just one transaction away.

A Gift Box with a Present

Despite those six parties calling the government to amend the law regarding the view on loot boxes in the Netherlands, only time will tell if their efforts were or were not in vain. Nevertheless, many local newsletters and media believe that the said law amendment will happen, as other nearby countries like France, Belgium, and the UK have already taken that step.

Besides the EA loot boxes in FIFA, many other popular multiplayer games also offer microtransactions, including loot crates. Because of that, in the following section of our blog post, we will look at some of the top titles that come to mind. To provide you with an overall view of what to expect, we have prepared a short table with the most sought-after loot boxes games in the Netherlands below:

Popular Loot Boxes Games in the Netherlands
👹 Diablo Immortal
👼 Lost Ark
📛 Overwatch ✔️
🛳️ World of Warships ✔️

Diablo Immortal – Mobile/Computer RPG

After discussing the EA loot boxes lawsuit and their legality, we must continue with another blockbuster from the online gaming industry, namely Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo Immortal. The game was first released only on mobile but was soon made available for computers as well.

Purchasing Diablo Immortal Loot Boxes

Because Diablo Immortal was initially designed for the mobile market, it was made in the fashion of heavily relying on microtransactions. Among those purchasable items, players can obtain Diablo Immortal loot boxes that might include currencies, items, boosts, and more. Unlike when refraining yourself from getting extra bonuses at some of the top online casinos in the Netherlands, you simply cannot fully experience the game without the Diablo Immortal loot boxes.

Many fans of the franchise disliked the pay-to-win micro transactional structure of Diablo Immortal, and it quickly became a discussed topic within the gaming community. Soon after the game’s release, some countries also took a public stance against the Diablo Immortal loot boxes system. Currently, the game is unavailable in the Netherlands, and Dutch players cannot download it from Battle.Net, the App Store, or the Marketplace.

Lost Ark – MMORPG

Lost Ark is a South Korean free-to-play MMORPG where players take on a journey through a magical and mysterious world in search of legendary shards of the Lost Ark. The game skyrocketed in popularity on its release due to Twitch streamers broadcasting their early access gameplay. As the game got released to the public, many named it yet another “pay-to-win” title.

Opening Lost Ark Loot Crates

Unfortunately, players in the Netherlands cannot access it due to the Lost Ark loot boxes system. Opening in-game loot crates for real money is really impactful on the gameplay, and if you want to be competitive in the game, you simply cannot do so without spending quite a lot of cash. For that reason, the Netherlands Online Gambling Association, similarly to Belgium, has restricted access to the game.

Overwatch – FPS

Similarly to the previous games, players in the Netherlands cannot purchase loot boxes due to restrictions implemented by the country’s gambling authority. As with the previous titles, Dutch players were able to use real money to buy Overwatch loot boxes, which contain sprays, hero skins, emotes, and other cosmetics.

Opening Overwatch Loot Boxes

However, unlike Diablo Immortal and Lost Ark, the Overwatch loot boxes provide only cosmetic collectables. That means that opening such crates does not impact your gameplay or progress in any way, and everyone remains equal.

Nevertheless, Blizzard announced that it would no longer sell such crates for real money, but you can obtain Overwatch free loot boxes by simply playing the game. Since that philosophy of having free-to-play in-game loot boxes does not interfere with responsible gambling in the Netherlands, the feature remains available to this day.

World of Warships – Simulator

Finally, let us wrap up this section by addressing the World of Warships game. As you have seen, many big companies and gaming titles have experienced restrictions or outright exclusion from the Dutch market. However, the case with the World of Warships loot boxes is slightly different as they are available for purchase in the Netherlands.

World of Warships Loot Boxes

The main difference between the World of Warships loot boxes and, for example, the Diablo Immortal loot boxes is that they are not absolutely essential for the gameplay. Mostly the obtainable crates provide players with different cosmetics such as flags, paints, collector items, and others.

The main reason for their “legality” is that WOWs clearly postulate beforehand what will be available in the box. When the guaranteed content in the crate is at least worth the price you pay, the service and product do not fall under the gambling law restrictions.

Loot Boxes in the Netherlands – A Case by Case Situation

Loot boxes in the Netherlands have been a topic of discussion and interest for quite some time now. As selling and offering loot boxes is technically still not illegal, the Netherlands Online Gambling Association takes a case-by-case approach towards individual games and services. Nevertheless, the six parties have brought up the case to the Dutch parliament, and new laws might be enacted soon.


We sincerely hope we have successfully managed to provide insight into the latest developments with the loot boxes in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, we would like to use this final moment to look at some of the most frequently asked questions and answer them for you.

1️⃣ What is a loot box?

To provide you with a short loot box summary, we must first start by saying that it is a feature found at many modern online multiplayer games. For the exchange of in-game currency or real money, players can obtain a digital crate that holds collectables such as skins, items, mounts, boosts, and other cosmetics.

2️⃣ Are loot boxes legal in the Netherlands?

To be perfectly candid, loot boxes are currently legal in the Netherlands. However, the Netherlands Online Gambling Association has taken a case-by-case approach and reviews games with loot boxes separately. Because of that, Dutch players can have access to some loot boxes rather than others.

3️⃣ Is the Dutch government attempting to ban loot boxes in the Netherlands?

There are six political parties that are advocating for the Dutch government to ban loot boxes or at least regulate them tightly. This movement has an ever-growing support from the public, and the loot boxes in the Netherlands will likely become unavailable to purchase with real money.

4️⃣ Are there any loot boxes available in the NL?

We can confirm that there are some popular games with loot boxes available in the Netherlands. For example, the multiplayer game World of Warships presents its players with the option to purchase loot boxes that include flags and other cosmetics. However, customers are always guaranteed to receive the actual value they had paid for.

5️⃣ Can Dutch players obtain loot boxes in Overwatch?

Yes, players in the Netherlands are still able to acquire Overwatch loot boxes. Nevertheless, Blizzard’s FPS game has removed the option to purchase loot boxes for real money due to the Netherlands Online Gambling Association. Instead, Dutch players can use their in-game currency, earned by playing the game, to obtain loot crates.


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