Dutch court orders ban on foreign gambling websites
Last Tuesday, a Dutch court ordered 21 foreign gambling websites to ban
Dutch visitors. The sites are located in 10 different countries, from a
well-known gambling paradise like Antigua to companies based in Canada and
The case was instigated by the national Dutch lottery (Lotto). This 100%
state-owned company became very confident after winning a case in February
against the international gambling firm Ladbrokes. Ladbrokes appealed. This
appeal will serve on 28 July.
According to the preliminary verdict, the 21 gambling sites violate the
Dutch Gambling Act because they are not licensed to offer online gambling
in the Netherlands. Since Dutch people can directly access the sites, they
are considered to operate within the Netherlands. And according to the law,
only 1 party is licensed to do so, De Lotto. Plans to open up the online
gambling market in the Netherlands have been debated in the Lower House
since 2000, but have not even lead to a test with competitors yet.
Online gambling is one of the 4 exceptions not harmonised by the European
E-Commerce Directive. Clearly, most EU member states have a high financial
interest in enforcing the national gambling monopoly.
Verdict Arnhem Court (01.07.2003, in Dutch)