Online Gaming Checks to Improve as UKGC Looks to Maintain Gold Standard Status

Online gaming operators will have to improve their ID checks following the publication of new guidelines designed to protection minors.

Online gaming checks

New rules mean online gaming operators will need to verify a customer’s identity before they start betting. (Image: MasterCard Newsroom)

Announced on February 7 following an open consultation, the regulations will make it harder for people to bet without proving their identity.

No ID, No Action

Under the previous system, operators had 72 hours to complete age verification prior to a customer’s first withdrawal request. After reviewing the system and consulting with online gaming operators, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) concluded that changes were necessary.

“To guard against the risk of children gambling, new rules mean operators must verify customer age before the customer can: deposit funds into an account and gamble with the licensee using either their own money, a free bet or bonus,” reads the February 7 announcement.

As we’ll verifying a customer’s age before they bet, the UKGC is insisting checks are performed before free-play games become accessible.

This stipulation may be seen as overkill by some given that practice tables don’t involve any risk. However, the UKGC believes they could be a gateway to gambling for those under the age of 18.

“While free-to-play games are not technically gambling (there is no prize involved), there is no legitimate reason why they should be available to children,” the report continues.

In addition to pre-deposit checks, the UKGC has tightened up its rules regarding transparency. Following complaints in 2018, online gaming operators will now have to make it clear what information is required, when it’s required and which documents are acceptable.

UKGC Continues to Press Online Gaming Operators

By overhauling the age verification process, the UKGC is building on changes it implemented at the end of 2018. After putting online gaming licensees on alert in June, the regulator moved to improve the complaint process.

Conscience that consumers weren’t able to report problems efficiently, the UKGC revised the rules governing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services. It doubled down on these changes early this year by warning operators not to silence customers with non-disclosure agreements.

Taken as a collective, these initiatives are a clear sign of intent from the UKGC. As well as pushing to making online gaming fairer and more transparent, it wants to ensure the most vulnerable are protected.

With US gaming operators currently fighting against the Wire Act and claims online betting is a danger to children, the UKGC doesn’t want to run into the same issues. By pushing licensees to implement tougher controls, it’s not only improving standards but solidifying the UK’s reputation for excellence in the online gaming sector.

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