Verdict Against Online Gambling Companies

Online Gambling

This article was last updated on April 17, 2024

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Unexpected Court Verdict: Online Gambling Companies Lose against Players

In two major lawsuits, players emerged victorious against online gambling services. The Overijssel court sided with the players who claimed reimbursement of their losses from the gaming companies. Importantly, this ruling covered losses incurred prior to October 2021 when online gambling was legally accepted. Figures involved in the settlements run into the hundreds of thousands of euros.

This could be a potential game-changer for the illicit sector of online gambling that allegedly amassed billions prior to legalization. There is a possibility that a significant proportion of these funds might need to be returned to players should they resort to the court. “To say this verdict is potentially groundbreaking is an understatement,” states Benzi Loonstein, the lawyer of the two winning players.

In both judgments, the courts asserted that the implicated companies, Bwin and Pokerstars, didn’t possess a valid license permitting the provision of gambling services in the Netherlands, making the agreement between the player and the gambling provider null and void. In the first case, the company is obligated to return nearly 188,000 euros, while in the second, the amount due is over 231,000 dollars and an additional 400 euros.

Failed ‘Tolerance Situation’ argument

There have been similar rulings in the past where court decisions favored players, but in those instances, the accused companies didn’t make an appearance and had no legal representation. These recent cases, however, were different as the accused companies did present their cases via legal counsel, but the court dismissed their objections.

One such objection was the ‘tolerance situation’ argument, which suggests that illicit online gambling was implicitly permitted in the period leading to its legalization in 2021. Therefore, the companies argue that they shouldn’t face reproach. Nonetheless, the court dismissed this claiming there were inconsistencies in this supposed ‘tolerance.’ Evidence shows that the Gaming Authority did indeed impose fines on different unhealthy online gaming providers during that time frame.

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