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Ladbrokes barred from net games in Netherlands

Dutch bookies only please

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The Dutch Supreme Court has prohibited Ladbrokes from offering web-based gambling services in the Netherlands. Last year, Ladbrokes was ordered to stop offering sports bets to consumers in the Netherlands.

To prevent compulsive gambling, the Netherlands has a complex licensing system containing a raft of restrictions and requirements. The number of games is limited and a percentage of the profits has to be contributed to Dutch charity funds.

About a year and a half ago, Ladbrokes, the UK betting and gaming division of Hilton Group, contested the rulings of two lower Dutch courts, claiming that the games offered via the internet should qualify as foreign games because Ladbrokes is based in the UK and organises the games from the UK. Ladbrokes also argued that the Dutch laws are a violation of the free movement of services within the European Union.

However, both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court disagreed. Ladbrokes now has to deny access to players with a Dutch IP address.

Ladbrokes' main opponent De Lotto, which operates under a license, believes that the ruling is a fatal blow to the illegal provision of gambling sites in the Netherlands.

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