5 Killer Mistakes When Onboarding New Players in Online Gaming


When it comes to online gaming, there are a number of converging regulatory trends that are challenging operators’ ability to quickly verify and onboard new players.

If you’re a UK-based operator, you now have to contend with new UKGC rules to prevent underage gambling. These new rules prevent players from gambling until their name, address and date of birth have been completely verified. Previously, online gambling sites were allowed a window of 72 hours to carry out age-verification checks. European operators outside the UK have their own set of regulatory challenges, but regardless of where you’re domiciled, operators need to avoid these onboarding mistakes in order to improve conversion rates, reduce abandonment and satisfy regulatory mandates.

Mistake #1. Provide a Slow, Clunky Onboarding Experience

Many leading operators take a multi-vendor approach to identity verification. The process starts when a player self reports their name, address and date of birth. This information is cross-checked by pinging a credit bureau or a data aggregator. Normally, these data checks will render a match around 70 percent of the time, but that means 30 percent of players are initially rejected because there is not an exact match or there is no data on file.

When a player fails this initial screen, many operators leverage a secondary vendor to verify his or her identity, usually by requiring the player to capture a picture of their government-issued ID. But this hand-off approach comes at a cost. There is often a time lag involved to trigger the secondary ID verification check which can translate to online abandonment and lost customers. Thanks to advancements in biometrics and AI, the process can be streamlined and automated without requiring multiple vendors and needless delays.

Mistake #2. Underestimate the Influence of UKGC

For online gambling, the individual European countries are still ultimately responsible for passing their own laws — meaning there’s no legislation or regulation that standardizes betting and gaming throughout Europe. So what’s allowed and what’s not can differ quite significantly from one country to another. That said, the recent UKGC mandates for upfront age and identity verification may very well become the standard for other countries. This means gaming operators, whether they’re based in Montenegro or Malta, are well served to start planning for age and address verification should the regulatory winds shift.

Mistake #3. Ignore the Impact of 5AMLD

Anti-money laundering (AML) is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing regulatory areas for gaming operators across all major jurisdictions. Of particular note, the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), which becomes effective on 20 January, 2020, adds some additional provisions that impact gaming operators. The changes will regulate the use of virtual currencies and increase the level of scrutiny required for transactions from high-risk countries.

Mistake #4. Neglect the Mobile Experience

Mobile onboarding presents a sizable, yet often missed, opportunity for gaming operators to win new customers. Based on Jumio’s own research, 39 percent of survey respondents preferred to play via an app on their tablet or mobile, yet of those who prefer to gamble via this channel, 29 percent are often discouraged from playing by a lengthy sign-up process.

Mistake #5. Overly Rely on Manual Review

Jumio partners with the largest gaming operators around the globe, and we’re often surprised by the volume of manual reviews that slow down the onboarding process and increase player frustration. Manual review is often triggered for specific scenarios, including:

  • ID Verification: Many identity verification providers return a yes, no or caution for the verification decision. Definitive answers obviously help reduce manual reviews, but when 30 to 40 percent of verification decisions are “maybes” that imposes a pretty heavy tax on operators’ internal review teams.
  • Address Verification: The 5AMLD adds some new requirements if the player resides in a risky country. NOTE: The list of “risky countries” has not yet been defined, but it likely will include a list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies provided by the Financial Action Task Force. For most operators, extracting proof of address from photos of bank or credit card statements is often very manual and time consuming.
  • Age Verification: When a player walks into a betting shop or a casino the cashier will visually check your appearance and will decide if you are underage or not. The exact same process is required for an online bookie or casino, except they obviously cannot make a visual assessment, so they must ask everyone for ID, whether you look 18 or 78. Much of this can be automated, but in some cases, operators are still employing manual methods to verify ages of players.

Today’s gaming operators need to pay special attention to player onboarding. Clearly, they need to comply with the evolving regulations, but they need to do so without sacrificing speed and the user experience. The stakes have never been higher.

Jumio enables gaming operators to cut the time it takes to verify new customers from days to seconds while giving them the ability to quickly perform ID, age and address verification in a simple, straightforward online process. This helps operators scale their operations, reduce manual reviews and dramatically reduce abandonment rates while ensuring that they remain fully compliant with KYC and AML legislation across all relevant jurisdictions.


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