The district court of Hermagor has classified FIFA Ultimate Team's card packs as illegal gambling. This is because players' ability to sell cards on a secondary market means it's possible to make a profit, giving the randomised items a financial value.
The German publication GamesWirtschaft reported that the verdict was the result of a 2022 lawsuit between a group of PlayStation-owning FIFA players and Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe.
Sony was sued rather than FIFA developer and publisher Electronic Arts because the loot boxes were purchased through the PlayStation Store, so the users' purchasing contracts were with Sony.
Padronus, a law firm that specialises in recovering losses from online casinos told GamesWirtschaft that more than 1,000 FIFA users have been in contact with the company with claims of around €800, although some extreme cases go up to €85,000.
However, the court ordered Sony to refund payments of €338.26. The verdict is not yet final as Sony is able to appeal.
Debate around whether loot boxes constitute gambling has been going on for several years now, with FIFA Ultimate Team often at the centre of discussions due to the franchise's popularity.