In April, a study of loot boxes by the Netherlands Gaming Authority concluded four out of ten videogames considered fell foul of the country's gambling laws. And while specific games were not named at the time, the regulator body warned that "enforcement action" would be taken against any games that failed to meet legal requirements by June 20.
That's today, of course, and it now appears loot boxes in both Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 have been deemed illegal. As reported by tweakers.net (via Reddit), players of both games were met today with a message from Valve detailing the sanctions.
As posted by Reddit user hollandje, here's the message in full:
Dear Counter-Strike: Global Offensive customers,
In May, we received two letters from the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit, stating that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 contain ‘loot boxes’ that violate the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act. The Kansspelautoriteit accusation is different from how other countries think about loot boxes, so we hired Dutch legal counsel, looked at the recent Study into Loot Boxes published by the Kansspelautoriteit, and learned more about Dutch law. We still don’t understand or agree with the Kansspelautoriteit’s legal conclusion, and we’ve responded to explain more about CS:GO and Dota 2.
In the meantime, we have a threat from the Kansspelautoriteit to prosecute Valve if we don’t implement a remedy by June 20. The letters don’t tell us how to do that, but the Study into Loot Boxes does contain one rather simplistic statement:
"Loot boxes contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are transferable. Loot boxes do not contravene the law if the in-game goods from the loot boxes are not transferable."
So for now our only practical alternative is to disable trading and Steam Marketplace transfers for CS:GO and Dota 2 items for Dutch customers. We apologize to you for this inconvenience. We hope that, after more engagement with the Kansspelautoriteit, they may refine their legal demands and we can find a solution that is less inconvenient.
This move follows Belgium's loot box injunctions, whose Gambling Commission also ruled against loot boxes in Overwatch, FIFA 18, and CS:GO in April. A deadline was not set in this instance, however it will be interesting to see how Belgian authorities proceed in light of the above.