Are loot boxes considered gambling? A pair of disgruntled gamers from Canada certainly believe so.
Mark Sutherland and Shawn Moore have filed a class action lawsuit against EA, alleging that the publishing giant is running an illegal gambling operation based on its propensity for using loot boxes as a means of monetization. The crux of the issue is that a license is required for gambling, but EA doesn’t hold one in the region.
“The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits unlawful gaming, betting, lotteries, and games of chance,” a portion of the filing (via GamesIndustry.biz) reads. “Gaming is strictly controlled and licensed in this country. In breach of these laws, the Defendants have operated an unlicensed, illegal gaming system through their loot boxes. Through this suit, Canadian consumers seek to hold the Defendants accountable for this unlawful conduct, and to recover their losses.”
While loot boxes are an obvious staple of EA’s sports games (e.g., FIFA, Madden NFL, NHL), the court filing lists numerous other titles and their monetization features. These include Mass Effect 3’s BioWare Points, Mass Effect: Andromeda’s Andromeda Points, Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Platinum currency, Star Wars: The Old Republic’s Cartel Coins, and Battlefield 1’s Battlepacks.
This isn’t the first time that EA has been sued over loot boxes. In August, the company was sued by a California resident for FIFA’s Ultimate Team packs and their “predatory” design.