Dutch Justice Ministry Astir Anew?

12 May 2008

The Dutch Ministry of Justice on Saturday confirmed Unibet and Oranje are among a group of at least 30 blacklisted online operators to whom the government intends to disrupt payments.

“It is illegal to offer gambling services in the Netherlands without a permit,” Reuters quoted one justice ministry spokeswoman as saying. “The companies know they break the law.”

Since January, the justice ministry has threatened to take “a firm line” against non-licensed Netherlands-facing operators, as well as the domestic banks and payments groups which serve them.

“The issue is a Dutch issue, so we have only asked banks operating in the Netherlands to participate,” the spokeswoman said.

Neither Unibet, the Sweden-based operator, nor Oranje, the Malta-licensed online casino, have offered comment to the English-speaking media.

Furthermore, it is unclear whether the justice ministry has taken any new action with regard to the blacklist or legal proceedings against the operators listed thereon.

Justin Franssen, an attorney with the Amsterdam branch of Van Mens & Wisselink, wrote in a recent white paper that the justice ministry has no authority to indict individuals or companies.

However, Mr. Franssen said the justice ministry can file a complaint with the public prosecutor’s office, whose charter covers the initiation of legal proceedings.

What action, if any, the public prosecutor’s office intends to take regarding Unibet, Oranje and other blacklistees has yet to be determined.

More on this to come.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.