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Dutch Court Rules Online Gaming Losers Should Be Paid Back


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A pair of poker players in the Netherlands are set to receive a six-figure repayment of poker and online gaming losses after a court recently ruled that PokerStars and sportsbook Bwin operated in the country before the government regulated and legalized online gaming in October 2021.

A judge ruled that the two players are now entitled to refunds totalling $450,000 for the losses incurred before legalization.

“The players argued that since these casinos operated without licenses in the country, the gaming agreements each player agreed to were null and void,” PokerNews noted. “Therefore, the sites should reimburse the losses.”

Details On The Case

Neither Bwin or PokerStars currently have a license in the Netherlands and the results of the suit could have a major impact on other operators that once offered online gaming in the country.

PokerStars argued that even if the initial agreement with players from the Netherlands was now void, most of the money involved in online poker filters back to other players, not to the company. The court didn’t agree with that argument and ruled that all players’ stakes were kept in PokerStars accounts.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Benzi Loonstein, has taken up similar suits and believes the companies shouldn’t have been offering online gaming to players from the Netherlands while the practice wasn’t technically legal.

“This is the first time that the judge has ordered online casinos to refund the bets made to players,” Loonstein told De Telegraaf. “The conduct of online casinos has often led to great personal suffering for players. This concerns many hundreds of thousands of people in the Netherlands. With its rulings, the court has shown that the behavior of the online casinos was unacceptable and that the damage (the losses) must now be reimbursed.”

PokerStars and Bwin can appeal the rulings but have been ordered to comply with the judgement until then. The rulings could bring about even more similar suits in Dutch courts.




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