New ID verification rules published by UKGC

News on 8 Feb 2019

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published new identification (ID) verification rules Thursday, effective May 7, 2019.

The new rules, which follow an open consultation, will ensure operators verify customers’ age and identity details faster.

A present online operators have 72 hours to carry out verification checks, and while play can commence, customers cannot withdraw winnings until the age verification has been completed.  In the event that the verification reveals an underage customer, operators are required to return their stakes.

The new rules now require operators to verify customer age before the customer can deposit funds into an account and gamble with either their own money or a free bet or bonus.

In addition, the Commission requires licensees to ensure customers have been age verified before they are able to access free-to-play versions of gambling games.

Remote licensees will be required to:

–  verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble.

– ask for any additional verification information promptly.

– inform customers, before they can deposit funds, of the types of identity documents or other information that might be required, the circumstances in which the information might be required, and how it should be supplied to the licensee.

– take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers’ identities remains accurate.

The UKGC believes the changes will also increase the likelihood that someone will be identified if they attempt to gamble while self-excluded on either the operator’s own self-exclusion schemes or the online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme, Gamstop.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, 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.”

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, added:

“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after. They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online.

“By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling- related harm.”

Future developments include the launch of a consultation on plans to make explicit the UKGC’s  expectations on how to interact with a customer who may be experiencing gambling-related harm and will be calling for evidence on the use of gambling blocking software.

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