Last year in October, the Netherlands legalized their online gambling market. The country has effectively implemented the regulations on the activity that ensured player protection, issued proper licenses and, to date, licenses for 24 gambling operators. While the market has been operational for more than a year and a gambling-focused regulator continues to monitor activity, ex-gamblers who lost money before legalization are now trying to get their money back from gambling operators.
One Hundred Dutch Gamblers Want Lost Money Back
Online gambling companies offered their services to Dutch customers before the license was granted. This allowed customers to spend as much on gambling as they wanted, making them perfect loot for some operators. Earlier this year, the Netherlands realized that gambling companies that offered their services before the market was legalized were operating illegally. A new report published by Volkskrant reveals that nearly 100 former gamblers are demanding to recover the money they lost while gambling online. Victims contacted attorney Benzi Loonstein for support after they were impacted. For the losses, which for some amounted to hundreds of thousands of euros. According to the lawyer, most people who contacted him were “young and vulnerable”.
Bonuses and Gifts Fueled Gambling Addiction
After engaging in online gambling before the activity was legalized, some affected people lost their homes or jobs, while others destroyed their relationships and accumulated debt. While players voluntarily chose to participate, Loonstein explained that many were pushed further into the game by receiving freebies, bonuses or other offers from game providers. These methods even helped people who occasionally enjoyed the game lose thousands. It is unclear whether any of the operators offering their services to Dutch customers before the legalization of the online gambling market had methods to control losses or prevent harm from gambling. Currently, under the existing regulations in the Netherlands, licensed operators must adhere to responsible gaming practices and avoid damage from gambling by detecting signs of problem gambling.
This probably wasn’t the case before the market was legalized, Loonstein reveals. The most recent report told the story of a person who lost all their savings while gambling. They started with a single bet of €100 ($106) but ended up losing more than €150,000 ($158,600) in just a year and a half. The same client revealed that he was assigned a VIP manager in constant contact with him, further fueling his expenses. This was just one of the people who contacted Loonstein and are now demanding that the gambling companies be paid back.
Such legal efforts are not surprising as players in other countries, such as Austria and Germany, have already won cases after filing similar legal actions related to offering illegal gambling services.