New procedures for age and identity verification have been implemented by the UKGC in order to ensure customers details are checked quickly and thoroughly and to protect underage people from potential gambling harms.
Customers cannot partake in gambling until verified
Under the new guidelines, the providers are responsible for preventing any unverified customers from gambling until they have completed the verification process in full. The name, address and date of birth of every individual customer have to be verified. The verification procedures are subject to a number of provisions included in the updated rules.
Three main changes had been made in the existing legislation:
1. New license condition 17 which sets out minimum requirements for identity verification
2. Changes to Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.2.11 for age verification for remote betting and gaming
3. Changes to Social Responsibility Code Provision 3.2.13 for age verification for some remote lotteries
The LCCP changes are binding for remote betting and gaming operators and some remote lotteries.
In addition, it has been established that the operators do not have the right to confiscate customer’s funds if the customer fails to provide ID in time. The Competitions and Markets Authority’s action in the remote sector decided every consumer is legally entitled to any money deposited in their account, as well as winnings made with that money and rewards gained from a bonus where the relevant conditions have been met.
GC’s investigation into online casinos results in further £4.5 million in penalties
In the meantime, the Gambling Commission has also been conducting an ongoing inspection of the safeguards online casinos put in place to prevent money laundering and to keep consumers safe from gambling harm. In the latest leg of this inquiry which has now been running for 18 months, four companies have been fined and the total makes £4.5 million.
The affected operators are InTouchGames Limited which will need to pay £2.2 million, Betit Operations Limited which was fined £1.4 million, MT Secure Trade which is due to pay £700,000 and BestBet which has been ordered to pay £230,972. All the penalties are related to failings in setting up adequate measures to prevent money laundering and reduce gambling harm.
Richard Watson, The Gambling Commission’s Executive Director, commented:
“We have been working hard to raise standards in the online industry to ensure that gambling is crime-free and that the one in five people in Britain who gamble online every month can do so safely.”
He also went on to say:
“We expect operators to know their customers and to ask the right questions to make sure they meet their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
The Gambling Commission has so far investigated 123 online operators, out of which 45 were ordered to submit an action plan to raise standards and 38 of those have already showed improvement.
UKGC and Ipsos MORI to help reduce gambling harms among youth
Working on many fronts, the UKGC has also recently announced it had developed a new framework for understanding and battling the gambling-related harms that young people may experience. It is to be done by designing and distributing a special survey that will be put to children between 11 and 16 years of age every year. The strategy has been set out in collaboration in Ipsos MORI, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling and GambleAware.