From Tuesday 7thMay this year new UK Gambling Commission (UK GC) regulations will mean that gambling operators in the UK will be required to verify a newly registered players’ age, name and address, before that person can make a deposit or play a free version of an online game on their site.
Currently online gambling operators have a 72-hour window after registration in which to carry out age verification checks
The changes follow a period of open consultation by the UK GC and aim to further protect children and vulnerable people from exposure to gambling, as well as reduce fraudulent activities at online casinos.
The new measures will also benefit customers by removing unnecessary delays for customers making a first withdrawal.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “Britain’s online gambling market is the largest regulated market in the world and we want to make sure it is the safest and the fairest. Today’s changes follow our review of online gambling and our ongoing widespread action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”
Whilst it is yet to become clear how long it will take operators to carry out the required verification checks when a player makes their first deposit, overall this must be seen as a positive step towards a better customer experience as well as a safer environment for gamblers and operators in the UK.
The measures will also create better opportunities for operators to identify self-excluded players as new customers will only be allowed to play once they have provided correct and verified details. These can then be checked against the operator’s own self-exclusion database and the verified data held by Gamstop.
No More Free Demo Games
The new rules also means that sites like TheSlotBuzz.com will no longer be permitted to publish free versions of slot games for readers to try before they play for real at a licensed casino.
On their website, the UK Gambling Commission say: “The Commission is now also insisting that customers must be age verified before they are able to access free-to-play versions of gambling games on licensees’ websites. While free-to-play games are not technically gambling (there is no prize involved), there is no legitimate reason why they should be available to children.”
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“These significant changes mean operators must check someone’s age before they gamble, and not after. They rightly add an extra layer of protection for children and young people who attempt to gamble online. By extending strong age verification rules to free-to-play games we are creating a much safer online environment for children, helping to shut down a possible gateway to gambling- related harm.”