Duty of care for bookmakers with offering sports betting

26 July 2021

The moment is fast approaching. On October 1, it is also possible to legally play a game in an online casino in the Netherlands or take a gamble online on a sports match. The potential license holders are currently being investigated, which will undoubtedly also concern the duty of care of the license holders. These must be able to guarantee that young people do not have access. Gambling addiction is also a major concern. The license holders must ensure that gambling addicts no longer have access to the various parties on the legal market. This must be done using signalling and list building. In the Netherlands, there is as yet no experience in this area. Partly for this reason, a process on the duty of care was looked at with interest.

Holland Casino in the dock

This was a relatively old issue, and the problem arose before the new remote gambling law was enacted. Nevertheless, all parties were interested and not just the Holland Casino. The matter seemed simple, yet it became complex.

It concerned a man who regularly visited a branch of the Holland Casino in 2009. When he lost, he showed aggressive behaviour, and that got so out of hand that he was banned from entering the Holland Casino for 5 years. He then went under treatment and was diagnosed with PTSD. In 2015 he contacted Holland Casino by phone and made an appointment. During that appointment, he apologized for his past behaviour. He showed an evaluation from the treating institution stating that he had been treated for PTSD. However, over the next few weeks, he lost €20,000 at the casino, became aggressive again and was denied entry again.

The importance of a copy

The person concerned took Holland Casino to court in 2019 because the casino had failed to fulfil its duty of care. The Institute’s report also stated that he was a gambling addict. According to the person concerned, Holland Casino had made a copy of the information. Therefore, the casino had failed to fulfil its duty of care, and the gambler demanded repayment of his €20,000 loss.

The casino indicated that no copy of the report referred to by the plaintiff had been made. There had been only one report on the treatment of PTSD. This was recorded by an employee of the casino. The judge believed Holland Casino and rejected the claim. That was a relief for the casino and the potential licensees.