The Internet has revolutionized the world of financial interactions. With automated transactional systems, encryption, and user-friendly forms of verification and authentication, it is both safe and convenient to buy or sell products and services online. This includes everything from hand-made goods, to common retail items, to online gambling.
Gambling, in particular, has experienced great strides thanks to transition to the online, digital world. The encryption and anonymity of online gambling makes the activity safer and more accessible than its physical counterpart. However, that same ease-of-use can sometimes result in mistakes, and even deliberate exploits that impact the safety of online gambling for everyone.
In recognition of this, the United Kingdom is now instituting some changes to the way online gambling works, and much of the focus is being put on more comprehensive identity and age verification.
The LCCP Heads The Effort
The License Conditions & Codes of Practice of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission is the agency at the head of this new initiative. The new measures being put into practice are a streamlining and improvement of certain practices already in place. The United Kingdom already requires that identification be furnished and verified during the online gambling process.
However, as of May 7th of this year, the LCCP has now amended the verification and ID process in an effort to prevent certain problems from getting larger and messier than they need to be. The main issue being addressed is child safety and a greater effort into preventing minors from gambling.
Too Little Too Late
Before the May 7th changes, there were several complaints that while ID verification and authenticity were a part of the online gambling process, there was a feeling that the stage at which comprehensive verification took place was too late. The United Kingdom has one of the larger online infrastructures for gambling. As a result, it’s also one of the biggest online markets in gambling as well, with a large, healthy population of participants.
The issue was that creating an account, and jumping in to gamble was a bit too easy. Of course, as a service, no one wants to put up too many barriers to entry for something that people want. However, because this isn’t purchasing a specific product, for a fixed price, but instead wagering any amount of money the participant has and wishes to risk, the legalities change.
The LCCP was noticing that due to the more lax rules in creating an account and gambling, even minors were sometimes getting into the system and were able to wager money that didn’t belong to them. It was only when it came time to account for losses and wins that more definitive verification was required and minors would be caught out in the system.
In other words, while the system’s ID and verification requirements would eventually find and identify minors who should not have been gambling, the system was configured in such a way as to only make this discovery after the gambling had occurred.
A Better Way
Now, with the new changes, more comprehensive verification is put in place at various stages before any gambling occurs. In this way, age verification implemented earlier can now prevent minors from gambling with their parents’ money.
This also addresses another complaint by some legitimate gamblers who found that because more demanding forms of verification were not required until after the gambling process, they were sometimes unprepared to meet the ID requirements when it came to collect their winnings. This has sometimes been used as a threat or a condition against legitimate gamblers, preventing them from collecting their rightful winnings when some online operators would withhold money until the required verification was produced.
Under these new rules, people participating in online gambling can now expect to:
Produce a name, address, and date of birth, at minimum before gambling
Produce additional assorted verifiable details at the request of a remote operator
Inform customers before depositing of any funds, of the type of identity documents or other required verifiable information and how it can be submitted
Under these new rules, minors will be far more readily weeded out, but, more importantly, legitimate gamblers will not be caught out unexpectedly, unable to collect their winnings. This will also go a long way towards catching or preventing criminal activity from occurring as these verifiable ID elements will be required before gambling takes place, creating a good deterrent against some criminal enterprises and online gambling.
These moves on the part of the LCCP reaffirm just how important it is not just to have good verification and authentication available, but when to implement it. Any organization, whether it is handling customers’ money for gambling, or verifying and archiving identity documents, must ensure that easy controls and measures are in the right place, at the right time, to process data and ensure smooth results.