With a decision made public on March 27, the Amsterdam District Court decided that gambling losses can not be refunded, even when they occur on an unlicensed site.
The court's ruling came after an unnamed Dutch gambler sued the Malta-based online gambling giant Unibet seeking a refund for the €170,000 he lost while playing and betting on the platform between June 2010 and January 2012.
Although the court admitted that Unibet operated in the Netherlands in conflict with the Dutch Betting and Gaming Act (Wet op de Kansspelen), it has stated that the operator will not have to refund the player for his losses.
The court also recognized that although operators are requested to act and put into place concrete measures and limitations in order to avoid any compulsive gambling behaviors, the circumstances of the case examined did not show any wrongdoing from Unibet's side.
Talking to eGaming Review, the General Counsel at Unibet explained that the company is pleased to see the legitimacy of its operations and policies against compulsive gambling recognized by the court, although the current situation needs an action from the Dutch legislator to put order into the country's legislative landscape relating to online gambling.
"On the one hand, we are pleased to see that the judge recognized that we are a trustworthy professional operator that did what it had to do in terms of responsible gaming and consumer protection," Keuleers explained. "On the other hand and as the judge underlined, there is also the current market reality and the need to have an appropriate legal frame that is aligned to customer needs."
According to Keuleers, "As long as the law is not updated there is no real structural solution, which is in the end best for society, for both the consumer and operator."
The gambling bill that would regulate the online gambling and betting industry in the Netherlands is expected to be discussed for approval later this year. According to industry rumors, and to what declared by the Dutch gaming authority Kansspelautoriteit, the upcoming gaming bill should lead to the creation of a State-controlled market, with licences to be awarded to the operators that will be able to meet a series of specific technical and financial requirements.
H2 Gambling Capital assesses the Netherlands as the the seventh largest EU gambling market in terms of gross win, and predicts that the regulated online environment will generate €200 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in its first full year.
According to GamblingData, however, the GGR generated by a regulated industry in the Netherlands could surge up to €370 million in 2016. Industry analysts believe that the online gaming industry would be principally driven by sports betting.