Brand new age-verification checks for online casinos have come into effect in the UK this week. As of yesterday, when the new rules were rolled out, no UK online casino is allowed to accept a new player before verifying their name, address and date of birth.
These new regulations come from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, in a bid to curb under-age gambling and to prevent harm. Previously, online casinos had a 72-hour window to perform such checks. Yet, the UKGC ruled that the time period was too long as it was not effectively protecting the vulnerable.
Whilst, on the whole, the new checks shouldn't inconvenience regular online casino players, they may lead to changes in how you sign up and join a new casino. Read on to learn more about the new requirements and how they may impact you.
The New Verification Checks
As we've just mentioned, new age-verification checks have come into effect for online casino players in the UK. These checks have been put into action to not only stop underage gamblers, but to ensure that every casino knows exactly who is playing at their site. This should help with crime, such as money-laundering, as well as checking that problem gamblers are not signing up under another name.
The new checks come under the UKGC's Licence conditions and codes practise (LLCP) legislation. This means that every single licensed online casino, sportsbook, bingo site or lottery in the UK will have to comply and so you should expect to see changes to your favourite gaming destinations.
Back in February, the UKGC announced the proposed changes to the LLCP rules, in their ‘consultation response‘ document. As the name of the document implies, this was published after the commission held a 12-week consultation with operators, consumers and gambling support bodies.
In the ‘consultation response' document, the UKGC outlined two main reforms: stricter age verification checks and stricter identity verification checks for remote betting and gaming operators.
In terms of age verification, licensees will now have to verify the age of any customer before the customer can:
- Deposit funds into their account
- Access any free-to-play games which may be available
- Gamble with their own money, bonus money or free bets
In addition, the Gambling Commission has also introduced a new licence condition that requires all operators to:
- Verify, as a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble
- Ask for any additional verification information as soon as possible
- Inform customers, before they deposit funds, of the types of identification documents which will be required and how it should be supplied
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that the information on customer identities remains accurate and up to date
How Will the Changes Affect You?
As a general rule, so long as you are of age and are who you say you are, the new verification check shouldn't impact your gaming experiences hugely.
However, there will be some new steps involved in signing up to a casino and claiming welcome bonuses. Such new measures may include:
- Disallowing unverified players to access demo-mode games and slots
- Asking players to supply ID during the registration process
- Freezing free-bets and bonuses until accounts are verified
- Email reminders when your account details haven't been updated for a while
Is This the End of Sign Up Bonuses?
Of course, for most players, the idea of frozen bonuses is the most worrying. However, whilst there has always been a lot of controversy around whether or not no-deposit bonus should be allowed, we don't think they're going anywhere any time soon.
Instead, we predict that although claiming a sign-up bonus may be more difficult in the near future, bonuses may actually get more rewarding. This is because, as you've already gone to the trouble of verifying your identity, the casino knows that you intend to spend money at the site – ergo, they want to keep you happy.
Preparing for the New Age-Verification Checks
When we review casino sites, we always take note of the ones which offer a speedy registration process. This is because we know that players don't want their playing time to be eaten up with formalities.
Unfortunately, the new player checks will almost certainly slow down registration processes, but the good news is that there are a few things you can do to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
⚠️ Only Ever Apply to Casino Sites Using Up-to-Date and Correct Personal Details
This may sound obvious, but we know for sure that there are some people who use out-of-date email addresses or old home addresses to sign up to casino sites. Usually, this is simply to avoid any spam a casino may send you.
Yet, with the new rules, it could be more hassle than it's worth. New casino players should only sign up using the correct personal details. That means current postal and email addresses, full names and correct dates of birth – there'll be no cutting corners any more.
⚠️ Have Copies of ID Documents Scanned On Your Computer/Mobile
As the scouts saying goes, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail and this motto is now applicable to online casinos too. A savvy gamer will, given these new regulations, have copies of the appropriate identification documents already scanned and saved to their devices. This allows you to upload proof of identity and age immediately, allowing you to start playing as soon as possible.
Valid proof of identity may include:
- Driver's licence
- Recent utility bill
- Recent bank or credit card statement
- HMRC tax document
- Electoral register entry
⚠️ Always Update Personal Information As Soon as Possible
Under the new UKGC regulations, it's very likely that players who fail to keep their accounts up to date may be sanctioned. As such, to ensure that your casino account isn't frozen, you need to keep your personal details up to date at all times.
Should you change house, email or name, you need to let the casino know as soon as possible. Usually, this simply means logging into your account and changing personal settings, although it may now also mean supplying new identification documents which reflect these changes.