|An appeals court in Holland has ruled against a motion brought by London-based online betting firm Unibet in a dispute with Dutch gambling monopoly De Lotto over access to gamblers in the Netherlands.|
The appeal was launched by Unibet following a ruling by a Utrecht court in October to impose punitive fines of $156,164 per day up to a maximum of $4.68 million as punishment for the firm’s continued advertising and facilitation of Dutch wagering on football games. The charges were brought by the national monopoly and resulted in the court ordering Unibet to stop taking bets from Dutch citizens
However, Unibet contended that it was allowed to serve Dutch citizens due to European Union treaty obligations and the case could now escalate to a higher European court. The appeals court stated that its interpretation of the law differed from that of a treaty calling for the free movement of goods and services between European Union member nations. In addition, it acknowledged that it did not share the opinion of the European Union on the issue and stated that proceedings against the Netherlands over access to the Dutch online gambling market are likely to occur.
According to numerous reports, the ruling marks the 17th time Dutch judges have ruled against European Union companies seeking to access the nation’s online gambling market and the European Commission has urged compliance as far back as 2006. The Commission recently increased the pressure and any continued non-compliance could result in the issue being brought before the European Court of Justice.