UK Gambling Commission Cracking Down on Underage Gambling
The UK has some of the most relaxed gambling laws in the world, but these laws have led to an increase in problem gambling and underage gambling, spurring the UK Gambling Commission into action. They have created a few new features and processes to try and curb these issues and remedy the problem.
Age Verification Checks
The UK Gambling Commission recently published a press release to announce one of the most significant changes, and one that concerns age verification. According to the release, these changes would mean all gambling companies would be required to verify a customer’s age before allowing them to make a deposit.
In years gone by gambling companies have used unreliable methods to verify a customer’s age and it has been possible to bypass these, but that may no longer be the case once these changes come into play.
The aforementioned rules will come into force on May 7 and will essential amend previous rules. These previous rules allowed a gambling company up to 72 hours to carry out age verification checks, during which time the gambler could use the site and make transactions. From May 7, the gambling operator will be required to run those checks instantly and restrict access until they can confirm that the player is over the age of 18.
The operator will also need to verify the player’s name and address, something that could add more steps and time to the verification process but will also help to guard against fraud and money laundering, while providing additional protection for both the gambling sites and the players.
Improved ID Checks
One of the concerns regarding these new rules is how age will be proved. Gamblers are worried that if they don’t have access to a suitable from of identification (not everyone above the age of 18 have a driver’s license or passport, for instance) then they will be refused.
This may continue to be the case, but in truth it has been an issue for many years. Prior to this law change gambling operators would only run verification checks at the point of withdrawal, and if they deemed that the player was not of legal age or could not prove they were, they would suspend the withdrawal. This caused a great deal of stress for legitimate players who didn’t have access to useable forms of ID and had won sizable sums of money in the casino.
In the future, those players may simply not get a chance to gamble in the first place and will be incentivized to acquire a useable form of ID for this to change.
To avoid any unexpected issues, gambling operators will also be required to inform customers in advance about what forms of ID will be needed to complete a successful signup.
Preventing Problem Gambling
These new rules are also expected to reduce problem gambling, as it puts more information in the hands of gambling operators and allows them to detect problem gamblers and offer assistance.
Whatever happens, it’s a big and bold move by the UK Gambling Commission, and one that should have a sizable impact on the iGaming community.