Netherland Laws - E&P Future in Netherlands

As some of you maybe aware, EA has been fined 10 million Euro for violating gambling laws and courts in Netherlands have approved this fine. As of now Empires and Puzzles is completely illegal and violating Dutch laws as games can’t contain gambling elements. As gambling requires specific age and games can’t contain elements that remind gambling habits. E&P does both.

More importantly, the court gave authority to Dutch Gaming Community to fine other games that violates Dutch gaming rules.

Can anyone from Zynga explain us how do they plan to make sure they are compatible with Dutch law?

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There will be appeals to consider first.

Which EA has said it’s already doing.

Worst case I guess they stop supporting Netherlands.

Which I’m sure a VPN gets around if you were that way inclined.

Of course it is too early to say anything but EA will 100% loose their appeal in my opinion.
I believe this is the start of a big change and this can move to rest of the EU pretty soon.
UK is also working on similar precautions. Lords didn’t eat surprise mechanic excuse.

It is important to hear what are the plans from Zynga as they can easily modify the game to get compatible with laws and remove gambling part from the game.

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Yikes!

Very mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I support the court’s decision.

On the other hand… I don’t want to lose the Dutch players from our community… :frowning_face:

Would much rather see other countries follow suit until Zynga is forced to change. :+1:

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I am curious to which aspects of the game can be changed, that will make it live up to the law?
Which aspects of the game is forbidden? I’m a relatively new player, so bear with me :slightly_smiling_face:

Is it the RNG, most of all? Or the, lacking the right English term perhaps, psychological ways the game tries to ‘lure’ its users?

Thank you for elaborating, and for raising awareness :pray:

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Paying money to do random RNG pulls is a gambling mechanic. You don’t know what you are going to get in the end. Mobile games are teaching kids how to gamble way earlier than they shall face those type of mechanics.

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I don’t see any gambling parts in the game, but also don’t know the laws of the Netherlands.

Could one of our friends from the Netherlands explain why E&P should violate the law?

While I’m unsure of the details of the lawsuit itself, this is an issue that has come up repeatedly on the forum. The so-called “ethics” of the gambling aspects of the game.

Guessing this mostly applies to the purchases themselves, nothing at all to do with the board randomness or whatever LOL. Basically… the fact that “buying” gems in the game for summons is essentially a form of gambling. Which - depending on the region, is supposed to be highly regulated. In most parts of the U.S., you have to be at least 18 years old to gamble.

So… at minimum, they would have to include age verification to play. Anyone under the age of 18 would not be allowed to make purchases at all.

Would likely also require an additional disclaimer before making any gem purchase in the game even for those over 18… informing them of the odds before making a purchase… informing them that this is, in fact, a gambling game; and also providing links to gambling addiction support sites, etc.

Additionally… they might have to “prove” to an independent auditor that their posted odds are accurate.

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It all started in 2018 https://www.vg247.com/2018/04/19/loot-boxes-dutch-gaming-authority/

EA already lost their case in Belgium and had to remove that gambling part on Fifa within Belgium.

https://www.vg247.com/2020/10/30/ea-10-million-euro-fine-fifa-loot-boxes-the-netherlands/ also may give some information on the latest state.

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Ah, I see, thank you for explaining :slightly_smiling_face:

I would give a lot to be able to play a game like this one without in game purchases, I must admit…But they clearly struck a goldmine, so it makes sense to continue.

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I was never 100% opposed to the idea of in-game purchases themselves, especially on a game that is free to download. They have to make some money, after all. I just never liked the way this game went about making their money. Seems fairly predatory, greedy, etc. to me.

But for everything I post here stating that, I get several replies from others telling me that “this is a good, fair business model”.

Not surprising! We have companies in my area that give out “short term payday loans” to low income people who can’t afford to pay their bills. They charge them about 200% interest on those loans. Myself and several others, including some politicians, thought that these companies were preying on people, and they pushed to pass laws prohibiting the practice.

Naturally, several people came out to defend these companies too. “They’re trying to run a business, of course they need to make money; the terms of the deals are clearly posted in the fine print”

There are many ways to make money in this world. The fastest and easiest ways, of course, almost always involve exploiting people.

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As far as I understand the link content, SGG just have to remove the “get at least x” offers to avoid any problems here.

I’m not so sure about that… originally the lawsuits began about items that could be traded for real world money. Since nothing we get in E&P is worth anything at all in real world money, and can’t be traded for anything worthwhile, you would think they would be exempt altogether. Except:

Six of the ten games investigated with loot boxes were found to contain items which could not be traded. These titles were found to be in compliance with gambling laws; however, the Gaming Authority was still critical over how these were implemented.

It likened the loot boxes to the use of a slot machines or roulette.

Still critical over how they were implemented. Mm hmm. Echoing my own sentiments right there.

Nothing in E&P is tradeable that I know of. That doesn’t exactly make it “okay” in my opinion.

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Doing random pulls is no different than slot machines, bingo saloons etc… All other industries and similar mechanics are regulated because they teach gambling mechanics.

This is the same, if they want to keep that part, game needs to be Restricted to minors.

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So the solution is you restrict the game to 18+ and put a message like “Please gamble responsibly” in the opening screen.

Regulatory wise you have to offer a way for clients to limit themselves and you need to spot problem gaming.

That’s it really. Gambling happens in nearly every country on earth.

EA would lose a lot of players as they are kids…E&P is an adult game in that the player base under 18 that plays it are usually the kids of adults who play it and they get an Alt with no ability to spend on it.

So really I don’t think this is the silver bullet F2P hope it will be. The game mechanics won’t change

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But a positive is you can’t doubt the stated odds if they need to be regulated.

So much like gamblers you just have to hate your luck rather than thinking it’s stacked against you.

The biggest issue is EA has a resale market so those hard to find players can sell for up to $2000. I’m genuinely thankful this game doesn’t have that option because then it would get silly.

But people pay money for gems, not for pulls so idk if it can be called “gambling”. Gems have much wider uses than that.

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I disagree, i believe eventually game companies will have to remove the Random Pulls all together because gambling is one of the most complicated industry related to regulations and if they start investigating deeply than many things could change fast as dealing with all those regulations may cost way more overall for companies and wiser thing in those case is simply change your marketing strategies will be more profitable.

Again i strongly like to remind everyone that gaming is a completely unregulated industry atm. Even the gaming rating agencies around the world are mostly controlled by Gaming companies.

The more companies continue their effort on exploiting gamers, the more governments will be forced to take action.

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You are mistaken.

I’m from the Netherlands and I have delved into the matter a bit.

According to be classified ‘gambling’ here you need to be able to cash out. With EA’s FIFA and other sports games there is a sort of black market where you can sell your cards for real money.

Because of that it’s in violation in the Netherlands.

For E&P there is no way to cash out since you can’t trade heroes in any way except when you sell your whole account. That practically does not happen, so E&P does nothing wrong according to Dutch laws.

For now.

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Yeah from what I read the resale aftermarket was the core of the issue. I’m curious as to why they allow an aftermarket…is EA taking a cut of it like an EBay auction or something?

EDIT - also selling your account isn’t actually a permitted thing…it’s done on a black market so not the same

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