On some occasions online casinos may request customers to provide copies of official ID documents in order to verify their identity.
This may seem a little unusual to some punters and has been known to generate a little anger, too.
With that in mind, it is important to explain as fully as possible why online casinos do sometimes do this.
Online casinos, regardless of location, have to have a UK gambling licence to serve UK customers
To get and retain their licences, casinos must adhere to all licensing requirements.
One requirement is to do everything in their power to protect children and young people from gambling.
Another is to prevent gambling from being a source of crime or disorder.
ID verification and ‘know your customer’ checks are the only realistic way to fulfil those requirements.
Licensing Requirements & Know Your Customer Checks
Whether they are actually based in the UK or are based offshore but serve British customers, online casinos must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. As set out by the Gambling Act 2005, which established that organisation, the three principle objectives of the commission are as follows:
- preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way
- protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling
By obtaining and holding a licence from the commission, therefore, online casinos are committing to doing all that they can to help uphold those objectives.
As such, they are firstly responsible for ensuring that no children or young people gain access to gambling services which it is illegal for them to use. That means that the online casinos are responsible by law for checking and verifying the age of all customers who use their sites.
Generally speaking, online casinos will attempt to verify a customer’s age by checking their details against the electoral register when a customer creates an account. If they are unable to do this, however, it is one circumstance where they will request official ID documentation.
Age verification isn’t the only reason online casinos can request ID, however, and the other is due to the UK Gambling Commission’s first principle objective. In order to guard against criminal activity – and especially money laundering – online casinos must identify anything which could be seen as suspicious and ensure that nothing untoward is occurring.
Online Casinos & Anti-Money Laundering
Money laundering is the transformation of ill-gotten funds into money which can be traced to a legal source. As such, it is possible for online casinos to be used for money laundering by individuals or organisations who would stake money garnered illegally in order to turn it into legal gambling winnings.
In order to prevent gambling through their sites being associated with such crime, therefore, online casinos are required to check the identities of customers using their sites. What’s more, legislation directly related to money laundering also includes specific provisions referring to online casinos.
That legislation is namely the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations of 2007, which set out the occasions when online casinos are legally required to perform identity checks, as follows:
where the facilities are for remote gaming, before access is given to such facilities
all customers who, in the course of any period of 24 hours pay to, or stake with, the casino 2,000 euro or more in connection with facilities for remote gaming.
In order to perform those legally required identity checks, online casinos have to sometimes request specific, official documentation. That documentation is, generally speaking, a government issued proof of ID such as a passport, photo card driver’s licence or other ID card. Utility bills or credit and debit card bills can qualify, however, assuming they are in a customer’s won name and confirm the address they provided to the casino when signing up.
The bottom line… it isn’t a scam… if and when you are asked to provide ID by an online casino, therefore, it is not to do with the casino questioning your integrity or keeping tabs on you. Instead, however, it is simply an example of them adhering to rules and regulations put in place to ensure the fairness and security of online gambling.
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