The Dutch Gaming Authority Kansspelautoriteit has levied fines of EUR 600,000 on the offering of illicit games of chance through the www.futgalaxy.nl and nl.futgamer.com websites.
Virtual Coin Gaming NV in Curaçao, the corporation behind the pair of deals, has been fined half a million euros, and a private person involved has also been fined 100,000 euros.
The KSA found that the website offered games of chance across numerous categories in its investigation, which took place from February 12, 2018, to October 1, 2018, adding that “the game FUT-Jackpot bears similarity with the casino game Money Wheel.”
In addition, it is added that both also have loot box games packs, a simulation of those found in the FIFA video games’ Ultimate Team’ mode.
The websites, referred to as “an online gaming website founded to spend your Fut coins,” did not mention that there is or has been any commercial arrangement between VCG and the games publisher.
The KSA states that the fine has been increased for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it has been proven that minors or young adults have taken part in the games of opportunity to bid.
The regulator cites two studies in which parents confirm that minors are playing on futgalaxy.nl, with one confirming that there has been inappropriate interaction with gambling and online gambling.
Targeting of Dutch consumers
In addition, the KSA adds that it “takes priority against illegal games of chance that specifically target Dutch consumers,” both using the Dutch language and one of the sites featuring the country’s iDEAL payment system and the .nl website extension.
In the Netherlands, online gambling is officially illegal, a condition which is expected to change later this year when the country’s online gambling market opens in September 2021.
Loot boxes have long been a focus of the KSA, particularly in the instance of in-game packs inside FIFA video games. In 2018, research discovered that there could be a link between playing loot box games and developing gambling addiction.
Strict separation between gaming and gambling
The chairman of the board of directors, René Jansen, said at the time: “The Ksa considers it important that vulnerable groups, such as minors, are not exposed to gambling. For that reason, the Ksa advocates a strict separation between gaming and gambling.
“Gamers are often young and therefore more prone to (developing) addiction. Gambling elements therefore do not belong in games.”