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Dutch state-owned sports betting company Toto is currently embroiled in a legal battle as players allege they haven’t received their full winnings.

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According to the Dutch broadcaster NOS, the case is being heard today (22 September) in The Hague and centres around a Danish cup match from the previous year.

The players managed to win nearly €26,000 from that single match, but Toto withheld most of their winnings.

Allegations of targeted restrictions

The media outlet reports that the players are convinced that betting providers are actively targeting them because they are winning too much.

They highlighted that online accounts with Toto and BetCity, among others, were blocked, and betting limits for consistently winning players are enforced at BetCity.

Entain-owned BetCity does not deny this practice and claims it is part of “risk management,” which encompasses various aspects, from addressing gambling addiction to preventing money laundering.

However, to bypass online restrictions, the four gamblers behind the lawsuit turned to the only available option in the Netherlands for anonymous betting: Toto retail shops.

These shops, often found in tobacco stores or supermarkets, have been authorised by Toto to accept bets.

In early August 2022, the four gamblers placed bets ranging from €200 to €250.

Most of these bets were based on the victory of the Danish first division club HB Køge over a second division club. Depending on the exact time of their bets, Toto promised payouts of 6x or 7x the initial stake.

Disputed winnings

On that evening, Køge indeed emerged victorious, but Toto is refusing to pay out most of the thousands of euros the players should have won, citing a supposed business error.

According to Toto, the odds of 6x or 7x were a clear mistake because Køge plays in a higher division, and the potential winnings should have been much lower.

Toto argues that the gamblers were trying to exploit a mistake they knew was too good to be true.

Through the courts, the gamblers hope to establish their rights and shed light on what they claim is arbitrary treatment. “You simply aren’t meant to win with these companies,” NOS quoted Cupido van den Berg, one of the plaintiffs, as saying.

To underscore this point, he references a recording made by a tobacco shop owner last year during a conversation with two Toto representatives, which the media outlet claimed to have listened to.

In the audio, the shop owners were confronted with the fact that their branch cost Toto over €100,000 annually due to winning players.

One of the Toto officials told the shopkeepers: “We are not happy with a customer who costs so much. You wouldn’t be either. If you had a particular item in your business that cost you over €100,000, you would say: ‘Well, no, don’t do that.'”

While the Dutch gambling regulator KSA has not commented on the specific lawsuit against Toto, it stated that existing laws and regulations do not explicitly prohibit limiting the bets of winning players or excluding them.

However, the regulator considers these practices “undesirable”.