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Valve brings trading back to CS:GO in the Netherlands, though loot boxes remain blocked

This comes weeks after the company first shut the services down in compliance with requests from The Netherlands Gaming Authority.

Valve has issued a patch that, among other things, reenables trading and Steam Marketplace use for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players in the Netherlands and Belgium.

This comes weeks after the company first shut the services down in compliance with requests from The Netherlands Gaming Authority, though it is worth noting that players in those regions are still unable to open in-game loot boxes. 

The way The Netherlands Gaming Authority sees it, loot boxes don’t violate Dutch law on their own. But when some sort of real-world value is given to the items received from loot boxes, say through an online marketplace or trading system, those loot boxes become something that violates the authority’s Betting and Gaming Act.

Valve was one of several companies to receive notices from the Netherlands Gaming Authority that its games were currently in violation of Dutch law. Following that notice, Valve revoked access to trading and Steam marketplace for both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 players while, as detailed in a letter, it worked with legal counsel to navigate the Betting and Gaming Act. 

“The Kansspelautoriteit accusation is different from how other countries think about loot boxes, so we hired Dutch legal counsel, looked at the recent Study into Loot Boxes published by the Kansspelautoriteit, and learned more about Dutch law,” a Valve representative previously said in a message sent to players last month. “We still don’t understand or agree with the Kansspelautoriteit’s legal conclusion, and we’ve responded to explain more about CS:GO and Dota 2.”

While this most recent change doesn’t come with an in-depth explanation from Valve, it appears that leaving loot boxes out of the picture for players in The Netherlands and Belgium makes it possible for the Steam marketplace and trading systems to operate as they did prior to the gaming authority’s letter. 

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