Overijssel District Court has ordered Bwin and Pokerstars to refund a combined €450,000. These losses were incurred before the regulation of online gambling in 2021. The court found that the operators provided gambling without a license at the time, prompting the ruling.

A player from Staphorst was involved in the cases. The player lost €187,000 with Bwin between 2018 to 2019. Meanwhile, a player from Almelo lost €217,000 with Pokerstars between 2006 and 2021. KSA, the Dutch gambling regulator, only began issuing licenses for online gambling last 2021 of April. In the same year, the regulated gambling market opened in October.
The absence of a license to operate legally in the Dutch market meant the agreements with Dutch customers were invalid, as per the court’s ruling. As a result, the operators must refund the losses sustained by the players. This mandate was issued by the Overijssel District Court. Benzi Loonstein, a lawyer who says he represents dozens of players in similar situations, has described the decision as a landmark ruling. He believes it will lead to more lawsuits against operators.
Loonstein said that they have been working intensively on this for a year and a half now. The gambling companies clearly ignored their duty of care. He assists clients who have gambled away their deceased parents’ inheritance in a few days. He also helps those whose savings accounts, intended for their old age, have disappeared. Such stories are very poignant. These are situations that the gambling companies are not aware of.
He added that yet these stories were not decisive for the court. They issued a purely factual ruling: there was no license for the Dutch market. As a result, they annulled the agreement with each customer.
Recently, a narrow majority of MPs in the Dutch House of Representatives voted in favor of motions. These motions aimed to ban online slots and to prohibit online gambling advertising. Other motions call for mandatory financial risk checks and identification for gambling.