UK-Licensed Operators to Follow New Age Verification Rules: What Changes for Players?

UK-Licensed Operators to Follow New Age Verification Rules: What Changes for Players?

UK-licensed casinos will now allow players to access paid and free content and lotteries only after proper age verification. The rules are introduced by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, and are in place as of beginning of May. Continue reading for more details.

According to the UKGC’s guidelines, a casino has to verify the age of any of its visitors before they can:

  • deposit cash into an account,
  • test demo games,
  • and wager either their own cash or free bets and bonuses.

In a nutshell, the problem was that…

…prior to these rules, a licensed operator had a 72-hour verification rule, and within this time period a player was not able to claim any withdrawals and had to return stakes, was he/she found underage. Statistically, around 15% of complaints forwarded to the commission were about additional identity information that operators would request during cash-out procedure and that the customers would frequently fail to provide, thus losing wins.

All that being said, the commission was looking for fairer and safer ways to both restrict underage players and to protect users from losing money due to a loophole in regulations. Therefore, now every brand needs to first be sure a client is compliant, and only then can a platform claim deposits and offer bonuses and free play, as well as lotteries.

So, what kind of information will the new rules require?

At the very least, an online operator will ask for the name, address, and date of birth of a player. Types of identity documents will be sent to everyone willing to deposit or test free play games prior to any further interaction with content. Any additional verification information may also be asked.

“We have considered all the responses to our consultation on changes to the License conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) relating to age and identity verification for customers of remote gambling. We have decided to strengthen requirements on remote gambling licensees in order to ensure gambling is fair and safe for consumers”, - states the official document  posted at UKGC.

Stricter Verification – Feedback from the Community

UKGC surveyed online operators, consumers, third-party identity verification providers, trade associations and other participants of the industry a year prior to launching new rules. All in all, around 500 respondents shared their views on how to make online gambling safer and how to prevent underage users from accessing casino content.

“Many consumers backed the proposals to obtain further information before permitting gambling. Some approved only as long as the proposal would prevent delays to withdrawing account funds, and that licensees were required to be more transparent. There was strong support for requiring licensees to complete all verification checks at account opening, and some suggested that licensees incorporate affordability or problem gambling checks and limit setting”, - the official reports states.

The majority of concerns were regarding identity verification before accessing free play. Most of the respondents agreed that demo modes are a direct invitation to gambling and should, therefore, be regulated. However, some shared thoughts that a substantial volume of players would turn to unlicensed websites when discovering they are not able to engage immediately with a licensed provider.

There might also be delays from the casinos’ side as to re-verifying an already existing database, especially in cases where verification was based on e-mail – a data that, most respondents agreed, is of no value and can easily be forged.

Some operators estimated that it would take from tens to hundreds of thousands worth of investments to come up with a reliable verification system or to manually re-check every account. While it is still to be figured how to work with the existing client database, new customers are already admitted according to the new regulations.