Circus, a gaming and sports betting website operated by Gaming1, wants to take the Dutch lottery operator TOTO.nl to court over alleged unhealthy monopolist practices. According to the former company, the latter brand abused its monopoly rights to expand its online presence.
TOTO Had Many Unfair Advantages
Circus insists that TOTO has been abusing its power ever since launching online on October 1, 2021. At that time, the Netherlands launched its official online gambling market, allowing iGaming operators to take bets from local customers.
According to Circus, TOTO and its ownership group, Nederlandse Loterij, had an unfair advantage over its competitors. One of the most notable transgressions, according to Circus, is that Nederlandse Loterij began promoting TOTO before the official launch of online gambling.
Circus pointed out that this move breaches Dutch regulations, which required licensed companies to cease their advertising activity before launching. In addition, licensees were required to wipe their databases of Dutch player data to ensure that no company has an unfair advantage over its competitors.
In addition, the Nederlandse Loterij was already popular among the locals, which provided its online subsidiary with yet another advantage. To top it off, TOTO also secured premium advertising slots on local media, which it used to aggressively promote its iGaming content. This was yet another breach of the KOA and was later scrutinized by local ministers.
Circus Feels There Was No Level Playing Field
In an interview with CasinoNieuws.nl, Martijn Maertens, chief executive officer of Circus, said that TOTO and Holland Casino Online abused their influence, funds and database to dominate the market. He added that the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is currently investigating whether this is indeed a violation of European regulations.
In any case, Maertens said that his company felt that there was not a level playing field for all companies, which should have been the case as per the KOA rulings.
Bas Braeken, Circus’ lawyer noted that Nederlandse Loterij supplied the TOTO brand with a loan of $32.3 million dollars, which was yet another monopolistic move.
CasinoNieuws.nl previously contacted the ACM but the regulator refused to comment on the matter as it concerned a still-ongoing investigation. CasinoNieuws.nl also contacted Nederlandse Loterij and inquired about its opinion on the matter. The group which operates TOTO said that it is aware of the appeal but seems unfazed by it. It said that it would patiently and confidently wait for the ACM’s decision.