Account verification is an important legal requirement at any licensed online casino in the UK. Whenever you sign up a new account you will have to go through this process. Your name, address and age can all be confirmed in soft checks along with your payment details when you first sign up. However, as a regular player and when you start making withdrawals you will need to provide more comprehensive documentation.
In this guide we explain the legal reason for verification, what you can expect from the process, which documents you can use and how long it may take.
What Is Account Verification and Why Do I Need to Verify My ID?
Account verification is simply a way for your online casino to check that you are the person that you say you are. An online gambling operator will use various automated database checks and requests for documentation to complete this process.
Completing these checks is fulfilling two of the primary objectives of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) *. These objectives are to protect under 18s from gambling, and to prevent criminals from using online casinos for fraudulent or money laundering activities.
*NOTE: The UKGC is the body established by the 2005 Gambling Act to regulate online gambling in the UK. They are also responsible for issuing licenses to UK casino operators. Read more in our guide to UK Gambling Law and Licensing.
Protecting Under 18s – Age Verification
It is illegal to gamble in the UK if you are under 18. Under current laws a gambling company has 72 hours in which to confirm your age. If it cannot do so in this time then your account will be frozen and you will be unable to deposit, play or withdraw. Fortunately, checking your age can usually be done behind the scenes by a cross check against the electoral role when you sign up.
Preventing Fraud and Money Laundering
Gambling and crime went hand in hand long before the internet age, and the online world is no different. Casinos provide a great opportunity for criminals to launder ill-gotten gains. Where the house edge is just a few percent this is a small price to pay for turning dirty money into clean cash.
For casinos there is also the unfortunate risk that a customer with a gambling problem may steal or commit fraud to fund an account.
For these reasons, as well as using ID checks to ensure that casinos are not being used for criminal activity, operators are also required by law to investigate accounts where suspicious activity is taking place, including unusually high levels of deposits. Where this is the case a customer may be asked what the source of these funds is.
When Will I Be Asked to Verify My Account?
Basic Checks on Registration
Account verification is not always handled in the same way by every casino, but in most cases, basic verifications like name, address, age and payment method are made through a ‘soft check’ at registration.
You will need to enter your basic details and tick a box to confirm that you are 18 or over and have read the Terms and Conditions of the site. This should be enough to allow you to make a deposit, play some games, and sometimes make a withdrawal without any further verification required.
Full ID Verification
In almost all cases, if you go on to become a regular player at a casino then you will be asked to provide full ID verification at some point, including scans of photo ID like a passport, recent utility bills, and the front and back of the card used to make your first deposit.
If you haven’t already been asked for full ID, then the following are all likely scenarios in which you could be:
– When you request to withdraw above a nominated threshold – usually around £2,000. This can be in one withdrawal, or cumulatively from the time of your first withdrawal.
– If the address of your first deposit method does not match the address you used to register your account.
– If there is a change in the pattern of your deposits or withdrawals.
– When a name matches, or is similar to that of someone with a history of criminal activity.
– Random checks are also carried out as part of an operator’s due process.
NOTE: These are general guidelines and experience varies from one casino to another. Some will ask for full ID before ANY withdrawal can take place. In order to fast track the process you can upload or email your documents to the payment team in advance of any request.
What Documentation Can I Use to Verify My ID?
When you verify your casino account you will need to show documents that prove your name, age, address and ownership of the payment method used to fund your account. The following are the most commonly used forms of ID at online casinos:
– Proof of Age – a scan of your passport (photo and cover page), your driver’s license, or national ID card.
– Proof of Address – a recent utility bill, phone bill, bank statement or council tax bill.
– Proof of Ownership of Payment Method – a scan of the front and back of the card used to fund your account, or your bank statement.
You can scan all of these and send them via email or through your account page once you are logged in. Most slot sites now have a ‘Documents’ or ‘KYC’ link from which a player can upload and send their ID scans.
How Long Does Verification Take?
Much like withdrawal processing, account verification times vary from one casino to another. It can take as long as a few days or as little as a few minutes. Our recommendation is that if you enjoy the casino you are playing at and you think you are going to continue playing there, upload your documents as soon as you can. This will avoid any delays when you come to make your first withdrawal.
Usually there will be the option to upload your ID docs through your account pages, but if there isn’t, ask a support agent how you can send them through. They will usually give you an email address.
What Is KYC?
You may have heard the acronym ‘KYC’ before and wondered what it means. KYC is Know Your Customer and it refers to the initial verification process used to check your name, age and address. It is of course important for the player to exercise discretion in order to protect themselves, however for security reasons, the casino will require confirmation of identity from an official document including date of birth for identity verification. Such documents as a passport, drivers licence or national identity card will suffice.
The residential address of the player will also need to be confirmed- so as to show that you reside within the legal province that the gambling site is allowed to operate. This may be confirmed with utility bills or government documents sent to the players supplied residential addresses. These documents requested are a step required by licenced online casinos and also proves as an added security measure against money laundering – where a player may be using multiple accounts and addresses under fake names to launder money.
Only after the above documents are provided can a player start gambling and play all of the great casino games on offer.
What Should I Do If My Verification Is Not Recognised?
If you provide your casino with the correct and real documentation to prove your name, address, age and payment details, then there is no legal reason for them to deny you an account and access to play their games for real money. If they refuse to accept your account for any reason then you can just choose to play with another operator.
If you have already made a deposit and are requesting to withdraw real funds when the casino refuses to accept verification, then you will need to make a complaint. This is one or the reasons why you should always make sure that you are playing at casinos that operate under a UK license. Under the terms of these licenses you will be able to raise your compliant with an Alternate Dispute Resolution body. You can read more in our article on casino complaints.
Is the Casino Performing a Credit Check?
The initial verifications made when you register with an online casino are sometimes referred to as ‘soft credit checks’. This is a simple check carried out by an operator to verify your identity and will happen if you are using a debit card to register. It is not the same as a hard credit check and is not recorded on your credit report. This is important because it means that it cannot adversely affect your credit score.
If you are uncomfortable with a soft credit check then you should use a different payment method to deposit into your casino account and then use standard documentation to verify your ID.
NOTE: If a soft credit check is carried out by an operator, it should be stated in their terms and conditions.
Do Any Casinos Allow You To Play Without Account Verification?
Since the 2014 Gambling Act any operator wishing to advertise to UK customers or take bets from customers based in the UK is required to be licensed. However, there may still be casinos open to UK customers who are operating illegally and without a license. You can choose to play at one of these sites if you wish but we strongly advise against it. Without a license these ‘rogue casinos’ are a law unto themselves, and should you have cause for complaint then you will have no recourse to processes or bodies that properly licensed casinos to provide access to.
To be sure that a casino is licensed, always check the footer of their site where you should find their UK GC license number.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need to verify my identity at an online casino in the UK?
The UK Gambling Commission exists to ensure the safety of players by ensuring online gambling is safe and fair. Strategy changes between 2018 to 2021, include age and identity verification. This requires the online casino to verify the player’s age before the player can access free-to-play games, deposit funds into their casino account or gamble with a free bonus or their own money. There are three main reasons why players need to provide their ID:
- To ensure the player is old enough to gamble
- The casino needs to check that the player has not self-excluded from online gambling
- Confirming identity
Types of documents requested could include household bills, driving licenses, and passports
How long does the verification process take?
The length of the verification process varies, should the casino be able to verify the player electronically, it could be instant. If the casino requires documents, the process could be longer and while verification is in progress the player cannot wager or partake in any gambling activities.
Why do gambling businesses ask for selfies?
Gambling businesses or online casinos could ask players for a selfie when fraudulent activity is suspected on an account. This could include, for example, identity theft instances in which an account was created using the details of a person that is not gambling. In such instances, casinos should ask for information sooner rather than wait till players request withdrawals.
Why do online casinos want to know about your finances?
In order to provide the best services while ensuring gambling remains free of crime, safe, and fair in Great Brittian, player interaction requirements include knowing your customer. Online casinos need to keep money laundering and crime out of the online gambling industry and at the same time want to prevent players from financial difficulties.
A variety of different techniques is used by online casinos to ensure players gamble within their means. Documentation such as bank statements confirms whether the source of income is legit and makes part of the gambling checks to prevent money laundering. Online casinos could also ask for alternative information regarding irregular income, for example pending house or property sales. The casino also checks deposit and loss thresholds that are based on players’ income and use Office of National Statistics data to assess affordability and refine risk assessment.