Landmark Court Ruling Forces Poker Sites to Refund Poker Players' Losses

May 8, 2024
Clinton Jacob Machoka

In a rather unexpected turn of events, a recent court ruling in the Netherlands has compelled PokerStars and Bwin to reimburse players with over €400,000 in losses, as reported by De Telegraaf.

This happened because neither site possessed a valid gaming license from the Netherlands authorities when the losses were accrued, rendering the gambling agreement invalid.

The court has ultimately declared the gambling agreements null and void, thus requiring the repayment of the losses incurred from 2006 to 2021.

Compelled To Pay

According to reports from CasinoNieuws, the Overijssel District Court recently presided over a case involving two players who incurred losses on poker sites before the Dutch government legalized online gambling in October 2021.

The players claimed that due to the lack of licenses held by these casinos in the country, the gaming agreements entered into by each player were rendered invalid. Consequently, it is only fair for the websites to compensate for the incurred losses.

However, PokerStars claimed that a refund may not be warranted even if the agreement is invalidated since most of the funds lost in poker games go to other players.

Nevertheless, the court held a different opinion, pointing out that the funds were deposited to PokerStars and remained in the PokerStars account rather than being directly sent to other players.

While both sites can challenge the verdict of a six-figure amount, the court has ruled the judgment to be temporarily enforceable, meaning it must be complied with without delay.

This ruling establishes a concerning precedent for active poker rooms in the Netherlands from 2006 to 2021. It opens the door for players who experienced losses during that time frame to seek reimbursements, potentially drawing inspiration from this story.

Groundbreaking Ruling

After eighteen months of rigorous effort, Layer Benzi Loonstein, the attorney representing the poker players involved in the lawsuit, referred to the decision as a "groundbreaking ruling."

Loonstein noted that this is the first time a judge has forced online casinos to reimburse players for their bets. He emphasized that gambling companies blatantly disregarded their responsibility to ensure player welfare.

Loonstein remarked that people can access online casinos around the clock, yet the harm caused remains unseen. He supports individuals who've quickly lost their inherited wealth or their life savings meant for retirement.

These are heart-wrenching cases that go unnoticed by gambling firms. Recent court decisions have highlighted these online casinos' improper conduct and ordered them to compensate for the losses.

PokerStars has been ordered to reimburse €230,705 in losses, interest, legal fees, and court expenses. Meanwhile, Bwin must pay €187,622 in addition to interest and legal costs.

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