A Dutch court has ruled that two online casino operators must reimburse a total of EUR 217,000 to players who lost money while gambling on their websites when online gambling was illegal in the Netherlands. The court decision is based on the fact that online gambling was not legal at the time and the plaintiffs argued that their losses were therefore illegal.
Unibet, a Malta-based gambling operator, has been ordered to reimburse EUR 93,000 to one player, while the other online casino, which remains unnamed, must refund EUR 124,000 to another player. Neither of the companies responded to the court summons or presented a defense. As a result, the ruling against Unibet was made in its absence, and the other ruling referred to the unidentified company that will still be required to repay the owed amount.
Unibet has submitted a written response stating that it plans to appeal the court’s decision. However, until the appeal hearing takes place, the current ruling will remain effective, allowing affected gamblers to claim their lost money from the two websites. The representative for the two gamblers, lawyer Benzi Loonstein, described the case as simple, stating that “if a company is operating in contravention of the law, it has no right to the money it earned.”
Loonstein confirmed that his clients are satisfied with the court’s decision, considering it a positive development. Similar cases have been brought to court in Germany and Austria, but Loonstein clarified that these default judgments do not establish precedent for cases where a defense is presented.
While the current rulings can be cited in lawsuits related to losses incurred before October 2021, the lawyer noted that cases without a defense hold less legal weight than those with a defense mounted. Additionally, gambling companies in Malta, where Unibet is based, are allowed to reject cash refund claims made by gamblers in other countries as per Maltese legislation.