UK Dad Slams Popular FIFA Game After Kids Drain His Bank Account

  • Kids spent $625 in three weeks looking for favorite footballer Lionel Messi
  • Purchases only found out once dad's credit card was declined
  • Nintendo Switch confiscated, dad claims FIFA 19 game is conducive to child gambling
boy playing on nintendo switch
Kids emptied UK dad’s bank account by purchasing FIFA 19 player packs to find footballer Messi. [Image: Shutterstock]

A father of four, Thomas Carter, has spoken out after his children left him with an empty bank account while trying to “win” footballer Messi in a Nintendo Switch game.

Carter, from Hampshire, UK, believes FIFA entices children to gamble, as packs containing top players need to be purchased online to reveal which player has been added.

Carter’s kids spent over £500 ($625) on Fifa 19 in just three weeks. They were looking for their hero Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona FC and commands a €40m ($45m) salary. The dad’s bank account was emptied before he realized.

Stole cash looking for Messi

Carter’s children were playing on the family’s Nintendo Switch when he bought them a FIFA player pack as a treat. He entered his credit card details to make the purchase.

Soon after, his four children realized they could download additional packs without dad around. The man and his wife were only notified of his children’s new spending habit when his card was declined.

To gain a new player, FIFA has in-game offers that provide new footballers, although you won’t know which player you will win. These packs range from cents to tens of dollars, depending on how many ‘coins’ you have. The coins are either collected or paid for via credit facilities.

Player packs constitute “gambling”

Carter didn’t believe his children would abuse his bank details, and that they were just trying to make a good team. The dad of four called this form of buying without knowing which player would arrive “unethical”. He added:

You pay £40 for the game, which is a lot of money in itself, but then the only way to get a great team is essentially by gambling.”

The family’s Nintendo Switch has now been ‘confiscated’. Following a complaint, Nintendo have refunded Carter in full, except for the original pack he bought. However, this has meant that all the purchased players have since been returned.

Similar to loot boxes

The ability to buy a box where the items inside are unknown have been tied to the loot box phenomenon, where children were encouraged to buy in-app purchases without knowing exactly what was inside. They are taken incredibly seriously in some EU countries.

Among these, Belgium has classed loot boxes as illegal and banned popular games from featuring them. Many other countries still permit games to include loot boxes, but games providers must make it clear that they contain in-app purchases. Some consoles have now upped their adult privacy filters to ensure that one-click ordering is not accidentally left switched on.