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FIFA Loot Boxes Violate Gambling Laws, An Austrian Court Decides

But Sony still able to appeal after being forced to pay PlayStation players who sued over Ultimate Team

FIFA Loot Boxes Violate Gambling Laws, An Austrian Court Decides
FIFA Loot Boxes Violate Gambling Laws, An Austrian Court Decides

A judge in Austria has determined that FIFA's loot boxes are against the country's gambling rules and has ordered that the affected players receive refunds.

According to the German website GamesWirtschaft, the Hermagor district court deemed the card packs for FIFA Ultimate Team to be illegal gambling. This is due to the fact that players can sell their cards for a profit on a secondary market, giving the randomised objects some monetary worth.

The decision was reached following a 2022 court case between a number of FIFA players who owned PlayStations and Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Ltd. Because the loot boxes were acquired through the PlayStation Store, the users' purchase agreements are with Sony, not FIFA developer and publisher Electronic Arts, which is the target of the lawsuits.

About 1,000 FIFA players have contacted Padronus, a law firm that specialises in recovering losses from online casinos, according to GamesWirtschaft, with claims totalling about €800, while some extreme cases reach as high as €85,000.

Nonetheless, the court mandated that Sony reimburse $338.26 in compensation. The ruling is still being determined because Sony has the right to appeal.

Due to the franchise's popularity, FIFA Ultimate Team is frequently at the centre of disputes about whether loot boxes are considered gambling. 

In 2018, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to declare FIFA card parks to be illegal gambling establishments; however, the country's highest administrative court reversed this ruling in 2017.

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iGaming News • Austria