EA's has fallen afoul of another country's gambling laws in court.
As reported over the past weekend by German publication GamesWirtschaft (opens in new tab) (and translated by GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab)), an Austrian court has ruled that FIFA's loot boxes violate the country's gambling laws. The court has demanded that affected players be immediately refunded in full by EA.
This verdict, surprisingly, comes from a 2022 lawsuit where a group of FIFA players on PlayStation sued Sony over the loot boxes. The reason for this is that the FIFA loot boxes were purchased through Sony's PlayStation Store, so they technically had contracts with Sony for the loot boxes instead of EA.
According to the German outlet, 1,000 FIFA players in Austria have contacted Padronus, a law firm that specializes in recovering money from online casinos. Some claims from players are around the €800 mark, although extreme cases where players are seeking to recover €8,500 have been heard.
The Austrian court, though, has ordered Sony to refund just €338.26 to players. Keep in mind Sony can still appeal against this decision, so this entire case is by no means done and dusted.
This is hardly the first time FIFA's loot boxes, and by extension EA, have been found to violate a nation's gambling laws. The Netherlands originally ruled in 2018 that the loot boxes violate their gambling laws, and fined EA to the tune of €10 million, although this was later overturned by another court ruling.
Don't be surprised, then, if this Austrian ruling also ends up being overturned in the future. It's worth noting that this time Sony is the defendant, whereas, in The Netherlands' case, EA was the one under scrutiny in the court.
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