Understanding the Impact of UKGC’s New Age & Identity Verification Rules

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) recently released its new customer identity verification rules , which take effect on May 7, 2019. The new requirements are part of the regulator’s three-year plan to ensure a “fairer and safer” gambling environment for UK consumers.

The table below highlights some of the key changes when it comes to the timing of age and identity verification checks:

Key ChangeCurrentNew (May 7)
Age VerificationOnline gambling operators have been allowed 72 hours to carry out age verification checks, which has enabled underage players to gamble.The age verification step now occurs when the online account is created (when players register on an operator’s platform).

 

Identity VerificationGaming operators were not required to perform basic KYC (identity verification) checks upfront. The KYC checks could be performed after the player has gambled.Operator must verify, at a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble.
Eligible GamesNot stipulatedCustomers must be age verified before they are allowed to access free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites. The changes apply to all remote betting and gaming operators, as well as lotteries.

 

The changes will help operators better prevent harm or detect criminal activity because they have more information about their customers. In addition, the changes will mean that operators cannot demand that customers submit ID as a condition of cashing out, if they could have asked for that information earlier. In addition, the changes will mean that operators cannot demand that customers submit ID as a condition of cashing out if they could have asked for that information earlier.

The new rules also tackle the occasionally shady process of online operators demanding significant identity checks only after a customer wants to withdraw winnings. The UKGC says 15 percent of the complaints it received from consumers were about this issue.

“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after,” said Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. “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.”

The UKGC does not prescribe exactly how gambling operators should complete age verification checks and customer due diligence. However, gambling operators should carefully consider how best to implement these new measures to meet the UKGC’s requirements.

At Jumio, we currently serve 9 of the top 10 largest operators in Europe and have been helping the top online operators navigate the KYC and AML regulatory waters for years. Age verification is ideally performed right after the completion of online identity verification — a series of steps whereby the player’s ID and identity are assessed for authenticity and to ensure they are who they claim to be. Once the ID and identity have been confirmed, age verification can be performed. Because we require a government-issued ID (e.g, a passport, driver’s license or ID card) as part of our identity verification process, we have the ability to extract the date of birth from the ID document. This means that we already have the means to perform age verification checks as part of the normal identity verification process.

In order to ensure compliant operations, gambling operators, betting platforms, casinos and other services need to employ the right identity verification services and age verification solutions to better protect the system from fraud, underage gambling and the growing number of online scams.

If you have any questions about the latest UKGC mandates, please do not hesitate to call one of our online gaming compliance professionals and we’ll explain how these new rules will impact your operations.

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