December 21, 2022
Notwithstanding the aforementioned changes in the regulatory landscape in Curacao, there have been some noteworthy cases in Europe, around the subject of the legality of certain offerings. As multiple European jurisdictions have recently or are currently changing their regulations and legislation regarding online gaming, this has enticed players to question the legality of previous deposits at companies which did not or do not have a jurisdictional license.
In The Netherlands, a group of approximately 100 players have filed a court case demanding their losses back from the online platforms they used to place their wagers on during the country’s grey market era. They argue that during that era, as it was not regulated, the contractual relationship between the player and operator should be deemed void. One of the defendants had dismissed the case as “nothing else than a law firm seeking revenue”. It remains to be seen how this case will be regarded by the court, but since 2021 there has been some favorable jurisprudence for players in place in other jurisdictions.
In Austria and Germany, similar cases have been brought to court, in which instances the player was successful. An example happened last May, whereby the Frankfurt’s Higher Regional Court ruled that a Gibraltar-based online casino had to repay €26,000 to a player who used its site before online gaming became legal in the region of Frankfurt. Even more recent was a verdict from the court in Cologne (Germany), whereby an operator was ordered to pay back €58,000 to players. The case was built on the fact that according to the court, the operator did not make the legal status of its website clear enough to players, as it was not mentioned clearly that it did not have a local license. This is something to consider implementing, given the fact that your company is providing its services in other jurisdictions (than Curaçao).
Development in these jurisdictions on the regulatory field including (similar) court cases are being monitored, but will have an impact when dealing with player complaints. If players are legally compensated for their losses due to the lack of a local license, it changes the playing field for those players and their complaints. We have noticed an increase of German court verdicts, which have been favorable for the players. As the Curacao gaming license is intended for a global neutral offering, we advise you to obtain local legal opinions from lawyers regarding the legality of your operation and the perceived risks by the lawyer. Please contact your Account Manager in such case to discuss with them.
Written by Cindy Drommond
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