A woman from Rotterdam has been ordered to pay back over €10,000 to the local council in welfare benefits for not disclosing the fact that she had been gambling.
The woman’s bank statements. which she had had to hand over during a routine check in 2019, showed she had withdrawn amounts varying between €10 and €100 at Holland Casino and other gambling venues between 2018 and 2019, and that during that time she had also deposited amounts.
This led the council to conclude she was gambling, an activity which is aimed at bringing in income and should therefore be declared, whether or not the gambler wins. The council told the woman to pay back the whole amount over that year, some €10,888.
A judge upheld the decision in a subsequent court case after which she appealed and lost again. The judge pointed out that although it could not be proved if the money she had taken out was indeed used for gambling, it was likely the woman had been gambling.
The judge also backed the council in demanding the full amount because it was not clear whether and how much she had won.
Lawyer Jacqueline Nieuwstraten said she was disappointed by the verdict. ‘It feels unfair. Most people who gamble don’t increase their income, that is the whole point of gambling venues,’ she told RTL Nieuws.
She also said many people do not know they have to report gambling activities when on welfare benefits. Councils should inform people, she said. ‘They say it’s on the website but many people will not check to see what the rules around gambling are.’
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