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New Rules on Identification Verification Published by the UK Gambling Commission

- February 11, 2019 By Oliver Young -

The UK Gambling Commission has published new rules regarding identification verification. The rules will take effect on May 7, 2019. The Commission has introduced the new rules with the aim to protect children, make gambling safer and fairer and make identification easier and faster.

The UK Gambling Commission aims for safer and fairer gambling with the new ID verification rules.

The UK Gambling Commission aims for safer and fairer gambling with the new ID verification rules.

The Rule Changes

Until now, operators were allowed 72 hours in order to make the necessary ID and age checks. While players were not allowed to cash out their winnings until the verification process has been completed, they were still able to gamble. In case the verification showed that the player was underage, the operator was supposed to return the deposit. But then again, the underage player was still able to participate in gambling.

Additionally, even when a player was age-verified, the Commission has received complaints from various players and 15% of them were treated unfairly because they were being asked by operators to provide additional ID documents upon their withdrawals,

In order to change all that and prevent underage gambling, the operator will now be required to verify the date of birth, name and address even before the player makes real money deposits into their accounts and gamble. In addition, the licensees must age-verify players before giving them access to free-to-play versions of gambling games available on their websites. The Commission said that even though these versions are not gambling per se, there is no legitimate reason why underage players should have access to them in the first place. And finally, operators are now required to provide players with information of the type of documents required for ID, the circumstances in which that information might be needed and how it should be supplied before players make their accounts and fund them.

The Expectations from These Changes

The Commission expects that these changes will help in better preventing gambling-related harms and detecting possible criminal activities. The new rules will also help in identifying players who attempt to gamble even though they are self-excluded. Operators would be able to check their own self-exclusion database as well as Gamstop’s database and forbid a player to gamble and deposit when needed.

Additionally, the new changes were introduced so that they provide fairer gambling to players. Players will not be bothered to give additional ID documents when they want to withdraw their winnings, because all of that will be asked of them even before they start gambling.

Neil McArthur, UKGC’s Chief Executive said that the new rules will keep children from gambling and will decrease the risk of crimes related to gambling. Gambling will be fairer because there will be no delays and safer for everyone. The Commission has decided on these new rules upon online gambling review and regulatory action into the online sector with the aim to raise players’ standards.

The Support from the Government

The government supports the new rules, and that’s evident from Jeremy Wright’s comment. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that these changes are significant and add an extra layer for protection for children who attempt to gamble. The added age verification to the free-to-play game versions, Wright said, creates a much safer environment for children and shuts down any possible gateway to online gambling and related harms.

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