Dutch Supreme Court: State Lottery misled players over winning odds

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The Dutch state lottery misled players between 2000 and 2008 by exaggerating the likelihood of winning, the Supreme Court ruled on 30 January 2015. The lottery should have warned players that it would use both sold and unsold tickets when making the draw. Consumers were misled, because the odds of winning were lower than they expected.

This case was originally taken to court by a foundation named Loterijverlies, which represents some 23,000 lottery players. According to this foundation, the Dutch state lottery should have warned (potential) players that it was including unsold tickets in its prize draws. Loterijverlies.nl argued that the Dutch state lottery misled ticket buyers between 2000-2008 on the following issues: (1) prizes being guaranteed, (2) the likelihood of winning, and (3) the number of major prizes per draw.

The Court of Appeal considered the information provided by the Dutch state lottery to be misleading indeed, because ticket buyers were not aware of the use of unsold tickets. Thus, the odds of winning were lower than players expected. The Dutch tate lottery brought an appeal in cassation, but this was dismissed as unfounded: the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal.

Supreme Court litigators Jan-Paul Heering and Lisette van den Eshof represented Loterijverlies in the cassation proceedings.