June 14, 2024 3 min read

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Dutch Courts Seek Clarity from Supreme Court on Online Gambling Refunds

A number of Dutch gamblers have launched legal proceedings to recover funds they lost at online casinos that were not authorized to operate in the country when they made their bets

The Dutch courts of North Holland and Amsterdam have asked the Dutch Supreme Court for advice in cases where players are seeking refunds from online casinos that operated without a license before regulation. This comes after conflicting rulings were made in ongoing lawsuits, where players tried to recover their losses from these unlicensed platforms.

Dutch Courts Seek Guidance on Refunds and Contract Validity

Many Dutch gamblers have taken legal action to get back money they lost at online casinos that were not licensed to operate legally in the country at the time. Some similar cases have resulted in different court decisions that either ruled for or against the gambling operators. 

In fact, players have won lawsuits against major operators such as Bwin, PokerStars, and Unibet. But most recently, a court in Breda sided with Bwin when it said Article 1 of the Betting and Gaming Act had become ineffective in validating gambling contracts while rejecting claims for refunds on this ground.

To fix these disparities between lower courts’ verdicts, Amsterdam and North Holland’s courts submitted several questions to the Supreme Court, reported Dutch media outlet Casino Nieuws. Most of these queries pertain to how one should understand and apply Article 1 of the Betting and Gaming Act which stipulates it is illegal to operate gambling services without a license from the Dutch gambling regulator – Kansspelautoriteit (KSA).

The Dutch courts seek to determine whether this article invalidates contracts between Dutch consumers and unlicensed gambling providers, whether societal changes or enforcement policies have impacted this, and whether compliance with the KSA’s prioritization criteria affects these cases. Additionally, they inquire if players can claim refunds for losses based on unjust enrichment if the contracts are deemed void.

PokerStars and PartyCasino Face €135,000 Claims in Dutch Courts

Amongst those being heard currently both by Amsterdam and North Holland courts are two cases involving PartyCasino and PokerStars – each demanding €135,000 ($144,932) from operators respectively. These reimbursement claims represent a wider legal fight including approximately 50 lawsuits across different parts of the Dutch judicial system all seeking answers regarding these same points.

The preliminary rulings from the courts in Amsterdam and North Holland are leaning towards a favorable outcome for gamblers which would mean that agreements with unlicensed operators may be considered null and void. But before handing down any final decisions they have decided to ask the Supreme Court to give uniformity to their judgments.

This decision is anticipated to bring much-needed clarity and consistency to the handling of historical claims against online gambling operators, potentially impacting numerous cases in the Netherlands. The final ruling is scheduled to follow after the operators have had an opportunity to respond to the questions, with the cases continuing in court on July 10, 2024.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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