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Published on: 22 May 2024

Gambling case update: court again rules for refunds

Before 1 October 2021, many online gamblers lost significant amounts of money. Earlier, we reported that the Dutch court ruled in several cases that online casinos must refund amounts to gamblers. These were proceedings in which the casinos failed to show up, so the court issued a default judgment. Recently, the court ruled in two cases where the casinos did show up. You can read more about these two cases in this article.

Overijssel court’s verdict

The court in Overijssel ruled in two cases that the casinos must repay the gambling loss (deposit minus payouts) to the Dutch gamblers who filed the lawsuit. The amount involved in both cases is around €200,000.

The reason for repayment is that it was illegal to offer online gambling before 1 October 2021. Therefore, the gaming agreement between the casinos and the players are void for violation of the Gaming Act.

As a defence, the casinos argued that offering online gambling was no longer considered undesirable, illegal or punishable. Also, the gaming authority would tolerate the offering. However, the court ruled that there was no evidence that this would be the case.

And so the judge ruled that the casinos must refund money to these gamblers.

Points of interest

The casinos involved in this case – Pokerstars and Bwin – are both based in Malta. Despite the international nature of these cases, the Dutch court has determined it has jurisdiction and that Dutch law applies.

It is to be expected that the casinos will appeal and perhaps cassation appeal. Thus, the court’s conclusion that the gambling losses must be repaid is not yet final. Similar cases are pending at the North Holland and Amsterdam courts, the verdict of which is expected in the coming weeks.

Furthermore, it still applies – as explained in our previous article – that Malta-based casinos can disregard a Dutch ruling. This is because the Maltese government has passed a law allowing it. The law has been heavily criticised. Law Minister Franc Weerwind announced that he and other ministers from European member states will take Malta to task over the controversial law. Furthermore, the European Commission is investigating whether the law violates European law. If so, the European Commission may take action against the law. In the meantime, it must be seen whether convicted casinos will voluntarily make payments following a guilty verdict.


Zeeland-West Brabant District Court recently dismissed a claim for reimbursement of gambling losses. This was done in a case against Bwin. According to the court, the prohibition on the provision of online gambling from the 1964 Gambling Act has lost its scope due to social developments. The court ruled that online gambling was not perceived as undesirable by hundreds of thousands of Dutch citizens (in the period before October 2021). Also, there would not be consistent and unambiguous enforcement against offering online gambling in violation of the law. Furthermore, the court concluded that in this case Bwin took sufficient measures to prevent gambling addiction as much as possible and guarded against so-called immoderate participation in those games. The court also pointed out the personal responsibility of persons who participate in these types of games. This dismissive ruling adds a new perspective to the case law published so far. It remains to be seen how judges will rule in other cases against other casinos.

On June 12, 2024, the Amsterdam and Noord-Holland courts announced their intention to submit (preliminary) questions to the Supreme Court. With the aim, as the press release indicates, to end legal inequality that has arisen because different courts rule differently. The plaintiffs and casinos involved will be allowed to respond to these questions before the questions are submitted to the Supreme Court. We will continue to keep an eye on this.

The court’s preliminary ruling on those preliminary questions is positive for the plaintiffs, in the sense that the agreements made with the unlicensed casinos are void, according to the court. Whether repayment based on undue payment should follow from that is a question that is not answered, but will be referred to the Supreme Court.


We are happy to help you determine whether we can help you recover your gambling losses. To do so, we work with a litigation financier. This is a funder that pays our costs, in return for you handing over a portion of the amount you have recovered to them. Are you interested or need help? Then send us an e-mail. We will contact you within a few days.

Articles by Floris Krijt

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