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Canadian Lawsuit Over Loot Boxes Say EA 'Operated an Unlicensed, Illegal Gaming System'

Targets gambling

Poorna Shankar Posted:
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EA is back in the news for the reasons you might expect. Loot boxes. Yup.

A Canadian lawsuit (viewable here via PC Gamer) spends some time defining loot boxes as, “a game of chance inside a videogame." To that end, the defendants of this class action lawsuit claim that loot boxes are a form of unlawful gambling.

The lawsuit continues,

“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."

There are two plaintiffs in this lawsuit from British Columbia and Ontario. These plaintiffs previously bought loot boxes from EA in the Madden and NHL franchises. The suit itself, however, spans games released from EA from 2008 including FIFA 09-21, Apex Legends, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Battlefield 1, and many more. However, Star Wars Battlefront 2 is not mentioned.

The lawsuit goes on to discuss the addictive nature of loot boxes saying,

“Loot boxes are considered part of the compulsion loop of game design to keep players invested in a game. Such compulsion loops are known to contribute towards videogame addiction and are frequently compared to gambling addiction."

The suit cites unfair practices, plus unjust enrichment, and breaches of competition. However, it keeps tying back to the issue of gambling by citing several countries – including Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Korea, the US, and UK – have taken some sort of legal action against loot boxes.

If you have the time, be sure to check out the suit.


Poorna Shankar

A highly opinionated avid PC gamer, Poorna blindly panics with his friends in various multiplayer games, much to the detriment of his team. Constantly questioning industry practices and a passion for technological progress drive his love for the video game industry. He pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. He runs a podcast, Gaming The Industry, with fellow writer, Joseph Bradford, discussing industry practices and their effects on consumers.