November 6, 2023 3 min read


Netherlands Court Orders Unibet and Another Online Casino to Refund Gamblers

The controversial ruling will have the two operators reimburse substantial sums to clients with losses originating before online gambling’s legalization in the country

The court’s decision stems from a change in Dutch gambling laws in October 2021, legalizing online gambling, which has prompted individuals who lost substantial amounts of money before this date to pursue legal action, claiming their losses were unlawful. Unibet has expressed its intention to object to the ruling, opening the case for reexamination at a later date.

The Company Allegedly Operated without Permission

According to the court, Unibet must repay €93,000 ($99,902) to one gambler, while another company, whose identity remains undisclosed, was ordered to refund an amount of €124,000 ($133,203). These rulings were classified as default judgments, indicating that the defendants failed to respond. However, a Unibet representative noted that the company’s lack of response was due to human error and it would seek its legal rights.

Lawyer Benzi Loonstein, representing several former gamblers, including the two in these cases, noted that his clients were happy with the court’s ruling despite expecting a continued legal battle. The judges in both cases agreed with his arguments, indicating that Unibet may face a significant challenge in contesting this decision.

Simply put, if a company acts contrary to the law, it is not entitled to the money earned.

Lawyer Benzi Loonstein

The Netherlands is not alone in addressing claims regarding similar losses. Similar lawsuits, with a success rate of nearly 100%, have been conducted in Germany and Austria in recent years. Tens of millions of euros have already been recovered from gambling companies in almost 7,000 cases, with the argument being that companies acting against the law are not entitled to profits from such activities.

Unibet Faces Rising Pressures

An unsuccessful appeal by Unibet could cause significant long-term problems for the operator as more clients attempt to seek compensation in court. Given the successful track record of other such attempts in high-profile European jurisdictions, Unibet’s legal team will be hard-pressed to ensure success. This development closely follows the company’s ongoing issues in other European markets amidst increasing regulatory pressures.

September saw Kindred, the company behind Unibet, withdraw from Norway after a costly and protracted legal battle. The court claimed the operator had been operating illegally amidst the country’s intensifying efforts to regulate its gambling market. This development dealt a significant blow to Kindred’s European ambitions, and the new setbacks in the Netherlands have undermined its foothold in another high-profile jurisdiction.

The recent rise in refund claims has raised significant concerns in Malta, which is home to many casinos, including Unibet. The region revised its gambling law in June with Bill 55, which allows gambling companies to disregard foreign judgments when gamblers seek refunds, safeguarding against such demands. The European Commission is investigating this change in law, which goes against EU regulations.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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