Date: 18.04.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

Dutch Court Rules Against Unlicensed Online Gambling Operators

The District Court in the Netherlands ruled against online gambling operators Bwin and PokerStars for operating without proper licensing.

This verdict came as a resolution to several lawsuits initiated by players who had incurred losses during the period when online gambling was not yet legalized in the country.

Financial Repercussions for Operators

Bwin and PokerStars are now facing substantial financial implications due to the court’s rulings. Bwin, lacking a Dutch license, has been ordered to refund a player an amount of €187,622 plus legal interest covering losses between January 2018 and November 2019.

In a parallel case, PokerStars, having withdrawn its licensing application only recently in 2023, has been instructed to pay back approximately €225,000 to a plaintiff. This amount includes the original losses in U.S. dollars converted to euros, additional minor losses, out-of-court collection costs, and legal fees.

Defense and Rejection

Both gambling giants attempted to appeal the decision by arguing the partial invalidity of claims and fairness issues. PokerStars further argued that since the lost money primarily ended up with other players rather than the company, they should not be responsible for the refunds. However, the court dismissed these claims, stating that the operators facilitated the transactions, thus sharing responsibility for the losses.

The attorney, Benzi Loonstein, highlighted the distress experienced by numerous players due to the operators’ failure to adhere to legal standards. He praised the court’s stance on the matter, noting it as a pivotal moment in ensuring that online gambling operators cannot evade responsibility for operating without a license.