Update [23/11/2017, 9:44AM NZDT]:
According to Belgian news site RTBF, the country's Gaming Commission hasn't reached a consensus on whether lootboxes constitute gambling. The site goes on, saying that the statement in the original report -- that the "mixing of money and addiction is gambling" -- was descriptive of the investigation's intent.
The publication linked to a new report, which highlights the difficulty of regulating lootboxes with today's current laws. An online translation says that game operators can be "aggressive" in their tactics, and often target "young people."
The Justice Minister's quote from yesterday (below) seems at odds with this current news. As PC Gamer points out, he could have been using the statement to accelerate the discussion.
According to the latest report, the Gaming Commission also appears to be investigating esports betting.
Original story follows:
Last week, the Belgian Gaming Commission announced that they were investigating games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II, to determine if lootboxes constituted gambling. Today they declared that they do count as games of chance in Belgium. They are now looking to extend that ruling to all of Europe.
"The mixing of money and addiction is gambling," the Gaming Commission declared in a Google translation of VTM’s original report.
“Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child,” Belgium’s Minister of Justice Koen Geens added.
If other European countries follow suit, publishers could see themselves landed with massive fines. This could also affect how games are sold throughout the region; any game with microtransactions could be rated adult-only by PEGI. Some retailers refuse to carry games with such ratings. It's unclear if this would also extend to digital marketplaces like PSN and Xbox Live.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.