FIFA packs may seem like a gamble, but the UK has deemed them not to be. As the discussion around loot box legislation carries on, UK Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McCarthur says under current legislation, these packs and other loot box-style content do not classify as gambling under current law.
Speaking at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee (via BBC), McCarthur says there are significant concerns around children playing video games with elements of chance, but FIFA doesn't violate current legislation.
"There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not—[such as] some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling," McCarthur says. "But they are a lot like a lottery."
While FIFA packs do have elements of chance and can be bought with real-life money, one loophole seems to be the freely earned aspect. While you can buy packs, you can also play to earn them. There's also no way to monetize what's inside them once they've been opened, unlike games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Dota 2, where cosmetics can be bought and sold between players.
The US has been working towards implementing its own loot box legislation, though industry groups like the ESA have voiced their concerns over the current state of the bill. But whether games continue to utilize these kinds of monetization schemes or not, it seems like folding them under other, broader gambling laws isn't so simple.