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Dutch court orders gambling operators to repay gamblers

3 min. read
Casino court

A Dutch court has ordered online casino Bwin to repay a large amount to a Dutch gambler who lost the amount playing at the casino over the course of two years. The court decision is not a precedent in the country, but it plays an important role in reshaping the public debate about consumer and player safety, and demonstrates the power of the courts in cases concerning offshore gambling operators who may have historically wronged their players.

The Overijssel court has ordered the operator to reimburse the gambler with €187,000, the sum that he lost playing on the website, as well as cover his legal fees, totalling the sum up to €200,000.

The period of gambling covers a period from January 2018 through November 2019, during a period when online gambling was still not regulated under existing laws at the time. According to the gambler’s lawyer, Bwin had not offered help in the matter and had not stopped his client from playing although he had been showing what the lawyer described as "clear signs of gambling addiction."

The gambler only came to a reckoning after his partner found out about his gambling habits. Bwin had already acknowledged that it had indeed allowed the person to play on the website without the necessary license to do so and admitted this much but did not agree with the court’s assessment that it had purposefully harmed the player.

Bwin further pointed out that it offered a range of tools on its website to protect consumers. The court also reached another verdict concerning a similar case involving a player who lost $230,700 and €400 playing on PokerStars between 2006 and 2021, when the website was operating out of Malta and was available to players in the Netherlands.

PokerStars did not contest the court’s claim that it had indeed provided various products, including sports betting to the plaintiff – the gambler. The case, filed by the gambler, sought to have the gambler reimbursed, which PokerStars originally refused.

The court ordered PokerStars to pay the $230,700 and €400 as well as cover additional expenses exceeding €10,000 for legal costs and other related expenses. Both cases demonstrate that courts in the Netherlands will most likely side with plaintiffs in cases where gamblers who may have experienced gambling harm, and are able to argue their case in court, could seek reimbursements for particularly large sums.

Although setting a precedent in a sense, this is not actually the first time a court has sided with plaintiffs in this manner. Last year a court similarly sided with a plaintiff and ordered Unibet to reimburse a player for €93,000. The court also ruled in the case of a second casino at the time, whose name was not disclosed, which was ordered to repay €124,000 to another plaintiff.

Image credit: Unsplash.com

18 Apr 2024
3 min. read
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