A Dutch court has ordered two online casino operators to reimburse a total of EUR 217,000 to players having lost money with these gambling websites while online gambling was illegal in the Netherlands.
Illegal Gambling Operations:
As reported by NL Times, the court ruled that Unibet and an undisclosed online casino refund the money to gamblers that lost significant amounts during the casino’s operations before October 2021. According to the source, the court decision is grounded on the fact that online gambling was not legal at the time. The plaintiffs reportedly claimed that their respective losses were therefore illegal.
Operators To Make Refunds:
For this reason, Unibet, a Malta-based gambling operator, is ordered to reimburse EUR 93,000 to one player, while the unnamed online casino shall refund EUR 124,000 to the other. As reported, neither of the two companies responded to the court summons or took any action to present its defense. For this reason, the ruling against Unibet was made in the absence of the defendant, while the other ruling referred to the company which revealed no details about its corporate identity but shall reportedly nevertheless reimburse the due amount.
However, Unibet has sumbitted a written response indicating that it would appeal the court’s decision. By the time the respective hearing is summoned, the current ruling will remain effective to allow punters to claim the money lost with the two websites. NL Times reports that the representative of the two former gamblers, lawyer Benzi Loonstein reportedly said that the case was simple: “If a company is operating in contravention of the law, it has no right to the money it earned.”
Defense Required for Refund Cases:
Loonstain also said that his clients are satisfied with the court’s decision. “They understand that the battle is not yet finally over. But this development is only positive,” he reportedly said. According to Dutch News, hundreds of similar cases have been brought to court in Germany and Austria as well. But Loonstain reportedly also said that default judgments like these ”do not establish a precedent for other legal actions where a defense is presented.”
It means that the cases referring to money lost on online gambling before October 2021 can cite these judgements in the respective lawsuits. But, the lawyer also indicates that the cases where a defense has not been presented hold less legal weight than the cases where the defense has been mounted. At the same time, Malta, as the country of Unibet’s residence, has already passed a legislation allowing gambling companies to reject cash refund claims made by gamblers in other countries.