From online slots to online betting, the online gaming industry is expanding rapidly. Globally, it is estimated that over one billion people use online gambling sites and apps. With European gamblers spending approximately €81.1 billion in 2020, it is easy to see why fraudsters and money-laundering organised crime gangs are interested in online gambling.
Increasingly, fraudsters are creating new accounts or gaining access to existing accounts using stolen identities or forged identification documents. In many instances, fraudsters use these accounts to syphon money from the bank accounts of their unwitting victims before withdrawing it elsewhere. In light of upcoming major sporting events such as the Football World Cup, this problem is likely to increase in the next months as more consumers place online wagers.
Know Your Customer
To prevent fraud and safeguard customers, gaming operators must adhere to anti-fraud regulations such as Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). In order to operate in the United Kingdom and most of Europe, gambling websites and applications are required to adhere to a several stringent regulations.
In addition, the Gambling Commission licences and regulates many online gaming and gambling businesses in the United Kingdom. As a result, they are expected to safeguard players from gambling beyond their means and promote responsible gambling.
Some countries have even taken the step further by implementing the verification step during a player’s deposit in a casino. This is normal in Sweden, for example. The process is so seamless that it feels like you are playing at a no-verification casino, while players are using their BankID to verify their identity while paying. You can read more about how it works on CasinoTop3.
The operators of gaming establishments must implement measures to prevent gambling by minors and procedures to identify, protect, and assist gambling addicts. For example, affordability checks can assist online gaming companies in identifying players who might be at risk of gambling away more than they can afford without requiring new players to complete any additional steps.
Faced with these obstacles, gaming operators must be certain that players are who they say they are before allowing them to begin playing. This requires ensuring that both new and existing players are genuine and, most importantly, of legal age to gamble. While at the same time making competent use of data to eliminate customer friction.
What is Identity Verification?
Without compromising security, compliance, or convenience, identity verification solutions can help gaming operators verify players’ identities. By using special tools, ID verification ensures that an individual is indeed who they claim to be. Age verification is also crucial for online casinos to safeguard the young population. The legal gambling age is 18 in the UK and even higher in some countries.
Frequently, players are required to upload copies of identification documents, such as a passport or driver’s licence, or provide personal information, such as their date of birth and address. This information can then be cross-referenced with third-party sources and live photos or selfies provided by the player.
In addition to ID documents, contextual data such as IP addresses or phone numbers may be used to verify players who sign in from a different device or location. If this is deemed suspicious, the player may be required to provide identification in order to access their account. This could be accomplished by entering a unique code sent for mobile verification or a verified email address.
Real-time affordability checks can also be completed in the background to ensure that new and existing players do not engage in excessive gambling by examining consumer affordability indicators, for instance. This can be supplemented with postcode-level data, such as the average property value in a player’s neighbourhood so that companies can gain a more comprehensive view of individual players and protect the most vulnerable.
Why is Identity Verification Crucial in Gaming Verification?
In addition to verifying players and addressing problem gambling, identity verification services can assist gaming operators in minimising the risk of identity fraud and combating money laundering. Good cybersecurity is crucial for any online business, online gambling sites included. Therefore, players often need to verify their identities when withdrawing funds or adding a new bank account.
If a casino doesn’t comply with the KYC and AML regulations, they risk massive fines. In 2012, Casumo had to pay a £6 millions fine after failing to comply. However, ensuring security and compliance with AML and KYC regulations is not the only difficulty faced by online gaming and gambling companies. They must also meet the requirements of players who wish to create and use accounts without a cumbersome security procedure.
To ensure future growth and player loyalty, gaming operators must balance preserving profits and enhancing the customer experience. Simply put, digital identity verification services must enable gaming sites and apps to quickly verify players and their identification documents to provide the seamless and secure online gambling experience that players now expect.
In order to protect players and profits from potential risks, it is essential to anticipate evolving regulations in the future. For instance, the UK Gambling Commission is currently reviewing various proposals to strengthen gambling businesses’ affordability requirements. To ensure responsible gambling, these proposals may require operators to conduct more comprehensive affordability checks and to take action sooner when certain thresholds are met.
Executive Managing editor
Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.
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