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Grandson, 17, blows €162,000 of grandad’s money gambling online –



Online gambling company Bingoal is being taken to court by a 77-year-old man whose grandson was able to gamble away €162,000 of his money without the company intervening, broadcaster NOS reported on Saturday.

In total, the youngster lost over €500,000 of his grandfather’s cash after opening accounts with 18 different providers, NOS said.

The teenager had been able to access his grandfather’s bank account via his father, who operated it on his behalf. He also sent Bingoal a photocopy of his father’s passport to prove he was old enough to gamble online. 

The man’s lawyer André Bussink told NOS that Bingoal had shown “serious shortcomings” in its duty of care. For example, gambling firms are required by law to suspend accounts if there is “reasonable suspicion that the player could damage themselves or their family by excessive participation or addition”. 

The grandfather is demanding his money be refunded and damages, arguing that most of the money would not have been lost if Bingoal, a Belgian firm with a licence to operate in the Netherlands, had met its obligations. 

The youngster spent €17,500 on his first day of play at Bingoal and then upped his limit to the maximum, allowing him to spend €30,000 a week. 

Because of this, the company should have advised the youngster to halt and informed the gambling authority KSA, but failed to do so, Bussink said. 

Bingoal told NOS in a written answer that they had made a police complaint against the grandson last year, accusing him of identity fraud and have also reported the issue to the KSA. However, given the complexity of the case, the company said it could not give any further comment. 

This January the national addiction watchdog warned tens of thousands of people have been hit by financial problems as a result of the way online gambling was legalised three years ago.

The government believed a regulated legal market would make it easier to help people who were gambling illegally on foreign websites, but the measures led to an explosion in people becoming addicted.

MPs are now calling for far tougher limits on how much online gamblers can spend a month following the publication of draft legislation to establish legal rules at the end of last year.

Legal protection minister Franc Weerwind said in December he plans to introduce a €700 monthly maximum for online gamblers to better protect them against addiction from April.

Currently, it is up to players to decide how much they want to spend, so alarm bells will only ring if they break that limit, even if it is set at €10,000. Nor are there any substantial controls on whether people can afford such amounts.

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