UKGC announces new age & identity verification requirements
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has announced new rules that will force operators to ensure customers’ age and identity quicker and more efficiently.
A consultation is to be launched and the new rules will enter into force on 7 May 2019.
Up until today, operators could take upto 72 hours to conduct age and identity verification checks. Customers were unable to withdraw their winnings during this period until their age had been verified. If the person was found to be underage, bets that the customer made must be returned.
However, today the Commission has announced new rules surrounding age and identity checks.
Now, operators must verify a customer’s age before they can make a deposit and before they can bet at that operator, either with their own funds or with a bonus or free bet type offer.
Additionally, operators must also verify age and identity before customers can play free-to-play games on their websites or platforms. The Commission stated that its reasoning behind this move is, despite the games not containing prizes and therefore not strictly being gambling, there is “no legitimate reason they should be available to children”.
Speaking about the new rules, Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said:
These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling. They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay. Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest. Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread regulatory action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.–Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive
Making gambling fairer and safer
The new rules are part of the Commission’s wider efforts to make “online gambling in Britain fairer and safer”.
As part of the new rules, operators must verify the name, address, and DOB of a customer before they can gamble. Additional verification, if required, must be requested promptly.
The Commission believes that these new rules will enable operators to prevent harm and detect criminal behaviour. They will also prevent operators demanding further identity verification at a later stage, for example when customers cash out. The Commission reported that a number of consumers had complained of unfair treatment by operators, by asking for additional verification when they tried to withdraw winnings.
The move is also intended to serve towards increasing the chances of identifying someone who has self-excluded themselves when trying to gamble again.