Dutch Gaming Monopoly Successful in Court against Online Sports Books

18 June 2003

De Lotto's summary court case versus a group of Internet sports betting sites today took a strange course. Just before the case started, 62 of the 85 defendants agreed to stop targeting Dutch punters by blocking them electronically.

De Lotto, the Dutch sports betting monopoly, won a summary proceeding in March 2003, against British bookmaker Ladbrokes, which enabled De Lotto to sue other betting sites as well. The penalty for violating sites is 10,000 Euro per day.

None of the remaining 23 defendants showed up in court.

De Lotto's lawyer, Joris van Manen, said the remaining defendants will likely be sentenced in absence. De Lotto has one week to prove that all the defendants have been correctly subpoenaed. The verdict will probably come in two weeks.

In cases in which a judge sentences by default, there are less legal consequences because no one is able to plea.

The De Lotto lawyers have indicated that they will soon summon additional EU-member sports betting sites that do not respect the Dutch jurisdiction.

There was one more strange twist to today's case: Five minutes into the proceedings, the judge asked all members of the press to leave the courtroom, which is uncommon in the Netherlands.

The appeal of the Ladbrokes ruling will be heard July 28 2003.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.