All UK Gambling Commission licensed gaming operators must perform player verification checks to find out:
- If you are old enough to gamble
- If you’ve been self-excluded from gambling
- To confirm your identity
What Documents Does a Gaming Site Need?
Although licensed operators have some discretion in the amount of personal information they request, it’s typically the case that you’ll have to supply documents accepted under KYC (Know Your Customer) rules that contain the following information:
- Photograph on an official document which confirms their identity
- Residential address and date of birth
In line with KYC stipulations and money laundering regulations the following documents are now accepted as proof of identity/address:
- Driver’s license
- Recent utility bill (within last three months)
- Bank or mortgage statement (within last three months)
- National identity card (if applicable)
Many casinos and betting sites now employ electronic checks (e.g. Experian) that take place in the background without you knowing. These provide enough information for a gaming site to verify who you are and how old you are.
Prior to the 2014 Act, operators didn’t ask every player to prove who they were. In fact, it was typically the case that only players requesting high value cash outs or those making suspicious transactions were asked to submit KYC documents. Today however virtually all players will be verified, either electronically or manually, usually at the time when they request their first withdrawal.
In certain circumstances, you may be asked to prove your identity and submit documents before your first withdrawal. For example, if you hit £2,000 in accumulated cashouts at Betsafe, you’ll have to manually verify who you are.
How Long Does Manual Verification Take?
Prior to 2014, the process was a bit cumbersome and could take close to a week to complete. Now things are a lot easier. If you’re not electronically verified and documents are requested, you’ll be able to upload scanned images of your KYC documents directly to your account page.
By use of an internal form to upload documents with a message sent to the verification team, the process should just can take a few hours. Again every casino will be different, however as an example, Casumo aims to process your documents within 12 hours but will typically get things done within an hour.
Verification Anomalies and Requests
Although it’s rare that a casino will ask for further proof of your identity, it can happen. If an operator suspects that an account is being used to launder money, i.e. making a lot of deposits and withdrawals in a short space of time, it will carry out an advanced check. This can involve a soft credit check or a request to see the user’s bank details.
Beyond this extreme example, an online casino may request further proof of identity in the following instances:
- Your passport or driver’s license has expired
- Your utility bill or bank statement breaches the three-month time limit
- Your passport photo isn’t clear or has been defaced
- Your driver’s license doesn’t contain a photo
- There are inconsistencies in the information submitted i.e. names, date of birth and address don’t match government/official records
When Won’t I Have to Verify My Account?
If you never request a withdrawal or the amount you request is fairly low e.g £20 you may not need to supply copies of your passport/driving licence. Additionally, if an online casino can electronically verify who you are by crossing referencing your account details with public databases you won’t have to submit any additional information. However as you request more withdrawals, it’s likely you will have to verify your identity using KYC documents.
What Happens if Your Account Can’t Be Verified?
This will differ from site to site but if you don’t have the necessary documents to confirm your identity or age, then either your account will be suspended or you will be able to carry on depositing and playing but will be unable to withdraw any funds until your account is verified.
Verification Delays and Issues
If you stick to our recommend online casino sites, you won’t have to worry about your details be exploited. All UKGC licensed casinos we work with will store any information and documents in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. In contrast, if you choose to play at an unregulated online casino, you run the risk of identity theft, fraud being perpetrated etc.
Many unscrupulous sites have also used the player verification process to delay and even deny withdrawals. By stating that a cashout can’t be completed until an account is verified, rogue operators can essentially keep hold of your money until they see fit. For this reason alone, you should only register with a UK licensed casino that we’ve recommended.
Why Do Gaming Sites Need to Verify Accounts?
The need for player verification formerly came into effect back in 2005 thanks to the Gambling Act. Replacing the 1968 Gambling Act, the 2005 legislation ushered in a new era of controls and protection, including the need to prevent fraud and money laundering. Under the Gambling Act 2005, operators with a licence from the UKGC must comply with three main objectives.
The first objective is the need to stop gambling from becoming a source of crime or disorder, being associated crime or disorder and used as a vehicle to support crime. In light of this, casinos need to monitor any persons they suspect of crimes such as money laundering. Looking specifically at the UKGC’s code of conduct, licensees must adopt a “risk-based approach” to the “exercise of its supervisory functions”. Along with a host of additional stipulations, this basically means that operators have to take all necessary steps to ensure that money wagered it legit.
Using this as a foundation, the more recent Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 made it necessary for remote online casinos to obtain a UK gambling licence if they wanted to accept UK customers. From this remote operators were now required to identify, record and prevent possible instances of crime and this gave rise to the practice of age and identity verification.
If an operator isn’t able to prevent gambling being used as a source of crime, it will be found in breach of the Gambling Act 2005, Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014.
Quick to Slower Player Verification Sites
As you’d expect, all online casinos are different when it comes to the account verification process. Although they all have the same requests and goals, the times they take do differ. So, before we leave you to explore what our top-rated casino sites have to offer, here’s a list of the quicker and slightly slower options for verification:
Quick Processors: Casumo, typically within an hour, Betway, Sky Vegas and Gala: All within 12 hours
Slower Processors: Guts, reports suggest it takes more than 48 hours to have your documents processed. Rizk: One user reported the processes taking more than 24 hours. However, others have said this was unusual and most requests are sorted within a few hours. VideoSlots: One Pogg user living in the complained because the site wouldn’t accept his driver’s license as it was in Russian.