FUT Is Not Gambling, Court Rules

A Dutch court has ruled that FUT packs are not gambling. What does this mean for the future?

Mbappe ea rich
Mbappé and EA will smell more money in the future... | © EarlyGame / EA

A groundbreaking blow for the FIFA community. FIFA Ultimate Team will forever remain pay to win, after the ruling of the Dutch supreme administrative court Raad van State. The court has confirmed that opening FUT packs is not gambling. EA will therefore be able to keep the pack mechanic and the associated pay to win system. The Dutch ruling takes away any hope of an Ultimate Team free-to-play mode.

Investigations and lawsuits against EA have been ongoing for several years. Opening packs in FIFA Ultimate Team is gambling, that's what some said. Ultimate Team's pack mechanism is EA's biggest source of revenue. If this system had been dubbed illegal, the corporation would have had to forgo billions in revenue every year. For the FIFA community, it is now clear that FUT will forever remain pay to win. But is that good or bad for us FIFA players?

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FIFA Remains Forever Pay-To-Win

To understand the whole story, we have to rewind a few years. Back then, Messi was still playing for FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo scored goals for Juventus. At the time, no one would have thought that things would turn out differently for both of them. We're talking about 2019, in which the Dutch Gaming Supervisory Authority (KSA) will impose fines on EA Sports for distributing gambling. Up to 5 million euros have come about during this period. This ruling has now been revised by the Supreme Administrative Court, meaning: EA may continue to operate their gambling. FIFA packs are and remain legal. The FUT mode is and remains pay-to-win. Leaks had already confirmed at the time that EA is setting up Ultimate Team as a clear cornerstone for FIFA. In the other game modes, it is always advertised to start Ultimate Team - and inevitably, invest money in packs.

FUT Packs Are Legal: What Are The Reasons?

EA was accused on two main points. First, opening packs would be a separate game because packs cannot be opened during a FUT game. Secondly, there would be a black market for FUT cards, which would also affect the real economy. These charges are plausible, but they were all rejected by the Raad van State. According to the administrative court, the packs are legal because the majority of packs can be earned through skill and simulate the difficulty of assembling a real football team. If you ask us, that's pretty big bullshit.

The packs and their content are not an end in themselves

The interests of the Dutch state are difficult to understand. Is the decision about tax money? Or why isn't EA getting the shaft here? The decision pro EA will be trend-setting for further negotiations with other countries.

FIFA Remains Pay to Win - Is That Good Or Bad For The Community?

The court decision is a slap in the face for the FIFA community, at least that's how we see it. There are arguments for both sides - for us, the contra-arguments prevail.

Pay To Win Distorts Competition

We all know it. At the beginning of FIFA, our Road to Glory team is not really strong yet. We play against an opponent who just sucks. But he has invested his whole salary in FIFA packs. He has much better players who carry him to win, that's totally annoying and frustrating. These are the people who, after a few months, don't want to play anymore because the other teams are getting better, and they lose every game. The coolest thing about it is that because of them, the gameplay is adjusted because "it is too fast". Ew.

Active Transfer Market

One argument for the pay-to-win is the filled transfer market. Every top player can be acquired through the transfer market – all the open packs make sure of that. This keeps the game dynamic, as prices evolve according to supply and demand.

Ultimate Team Is More Expensive Than The Actual Game

Packs are abnormally expensive. If you want to build a competitive team, you MUST spend more than €1,000, otherwise you have no chance. Esport teams and esport players, as well as YouTubers and Twitch streamers get this money as a gift from sponsors, or they can tax it as a business expense and get reimbursed for part of the cost. But the average consumer can't do that, the money is simply gone. And it's not like you can take over the score to the next FIFA. No, you pay €70, spend your money on packs - and the next year, the same thing happens.

Opening Packs Is Exciting

Pack openings are just fun, you have to admit. The fact that you don't know what's coming gets you going. You want to explore what's there. And EA does it cleverly, the hidden is only there behind a paywall. The pack animations have been made exciting for years. You get piece by piece revealed which player you pull in the pack. Simply exciting.

Luck Plays The Biggest Role

Now, we finally come to the luck factor.... The probability of drawing a good card is less than 1%. EA states this themselves in the pack description. And that's what makes it a game of chance, isn't it? At a slot machine in a casino, the same is true. You put money in - and with a lot of luck, you win an amount. The FIFA packs don't give you your real money back, but they give you in-game value or currency based on luck. You can be the best player in the world, and still need luck to draw the best FUT cards in the world. EA has found a loophole in the gaming world there. The idea with the packs is a stroke of genius that will last forever after the Dutch ruling.