Gambling websites in court

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The Dutch Government is planning to take several gambling and casino related Internet websites to court. The Dutch Ministry of Justice had enough of the fact that Dutch and foreign companies without required gambling licenses were targeting the Dutch market. Within a few weeks a declaration will be made by the Ministry. The companies in trouble include Unibet and Oranje Casino, two popular companies among Dutch internet gamblers.

"These companies target our market with a very aggressive approach", says Henk Remme, of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. "We are sure to take these companies to court. They have gone too far and have ignored our gambling laws".

In The Netherlands only the Lotto may organize online sports betting and Holland Casino has the monopoly on casino games. The Lotto recently won another lawsuit against Unibet. This bookmaker was told to stop offering sports betting, but Unibet refuses. The company refers to European legislation, which states that there must be a free movement of services and trae among European member states. According to Remme this is incorrect. "There have been sixteen rulings by judges stating that our policy fits within European legislation".

The Ministry of Justice has meanwhile made a blacklist of thirty to fifty 'illegal' Internet pages. They attract an estimated 400,000 players annually; approximately 90 to 280 million Euros in revenue. The blacklist has now been distributed to all Dutch banks in connection withcredit card payments. Minister Hirsch Ballin (Justice) demands that they stop processing payments for these companies, such as Party Poker and Bwin. If that does not happen, the Ministry of Justice will take further steps against the banks for 'promoting' illegal activities.

The Dutch Association of Banks will only cooperate if banks are immune from any claims from Internet companies. The Ministry of Justice wants to see whether an exemption is possible, but will not compensate any losses borne by the banks.

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