A casino’s KYC process is in place to verify the identity of the players even before they sign up. However, some online casino players, and even owners, see this regulation as suspicious, inconvenient, and time-consuming.
The thing is, the government and gambling regulators implement the thorough casino KYC process for a reason. Keep reading as this article will break down why these licensed casinos require identification cards, plus which of your IDs are acceptable.
Why Online Casinos Require ID
“Know Your Customer,” simply known as KYC, is an compliance process financial institutions, including casinos, follow to verify the legitimacy of their customer’ identities.
In the UK, the government enacted through the Gambling Commission that all casinos must demand KYC documents from their customers and follow all verification protocols. This regulation is in line with the three main licensing objectives of the Gambling Act of 2005:
- To prevent gambling from being a source of or associated with crime or disorder
- To ensure that all gambling practices are fair and open
- To protect children from getting involved with gambling
With this, UK online casinos that do not follow these regulations are subject to paying heavy fines and getting their licenses revoked.
Additionally, customers who do not comply and refuse to provide KYC documents may experience withdrawal delays, or they won’t get to withdraw their winnings at all. Some even have their accounts removed. And those who are caught using fake IDs may need to pay tremendous penalties or face criminal charges.
Reasons For ID Requirements
Here are the five primary reasons, in detail, why IDs are required when signing up and claiming your winnings from online casinos:
Compliant with Anti-Money Laundering Laws
Money laundering is an illegal act where the source of ill-gotten money is concealed to make it look like it’s obtained legitimately. In contrast, it was generated from criminal activities like terrorist funding or drug trafficking.
One of the most common methods criminals use to “launder” their money is online gambling. Since online casinos and betting sites largely operate with vast sums of money and accessing their websites is relatively easy, they can quickly become a platform where this type of cybercrime is prevalent.
Launderers deposit their money in gambling sites as a way to “clean” it or make it seem like it’s from a legitimate source of funding. Others simply use the ill-gotten money to fund their leisure gambling activities. Either way, both are serious money laundering cases through online casinos.
Governments have since laid down strict laws, especially with criminals’ modus operandi or techniques that have been keeping up with advanced technology. With the KYC process implemented, all members are required to submit IDs, proof of address, and most especially, bank statements. Bank statements help show the source of your money.
If casino operators notice something suspicious, you will be asked to prove the legitimacy of your funding. If you fail to do so, they can cancel your account and transfer you to the authorities.
Online casinos which are also proven to overlook or support criminal activities like money-laundering in their platforms can be sanctioned by the law. They will have to pay heavy fines or be ordered to shut down.
Prevent Minors from Entering
The legal gambling age may vary from one country to another. For example, the legal age for gambling in the US can be different in every state since gambling laws are state-regulated. Although most US online gambling sites require players to be at least 21 years old, there are states where the minimum legal gambling age to enter casinos is 18, including:
- Florida (poker and bingo in tribal casinos only)
- Georgia (off-shore cruises)
- Idaho (may also depend on different properties)
- New York
- Rhode Island
On the other hand, in the UK, someone who is older than 18 years old can enter and play in casinos and other gambling establishments.
As regulated by the Gambling Commission through the Gambling Act of 2005, children must be protected from getting involved with any type of gambling activity. With this, online casinos must be strict in assessing their customers’ age. Submitting IDs for online casinos help identify if the player is underage or not. Operators will look up your name in the electoral register to verify if your ID is legitimate and if you’re of age to sign up on their website.
Although, some casinos do not require the submission of KYC documents upon registration. This will give the opportunity for underage players to take advantage of the free spins. However, they can expect that they will be asked to submit proof of their age and identity before they can withdraw their winnings if there are any.
The KYC process also prevents fraudulent activities of individuals and groups. One example of illegal activities that fraudsters do on gambling platforms is collusion, where they create multiple accounts on the website to manipulate their odds of winning. They will often use fake IDs and stolen identities to register. These fake accounts are then set up to lose, so one of their primary accounts wins.
In addition, some criminals use stolen credit cards to register in online casinos and top up their accounts. They also sometimes use their banks’ chargeback policies to get a “refund.” Chargeback, also referred to as “friendly fraud,” is when a customer creates disputes with their bank instead of the merchant, in this case, is the online casino, to take their money back for illegitimate reasons. Fraudsters abuse this policy so they can cut down their loss.
All of these activities are illegal, and those proven guilty of any of these can be penalized. Online casinos will carefully verify the documents submitted to them and check their legitimacy.
Players who have a history of irresponsible gaming and fraudulent activities are closely monitored. Submitting your KYC documents will help the online casino verify if you’re on the blacklist of fraudsters banned from playing.
Problem gamblers are also an issue for online casinos. As a way to assist those who already had an issue being a compulsive or irresponsible gambler, they shouldn’t be allowed to sign up on online casinos anymore.
Fight Bonus Abuse
Some players abuse welcome bonuses by creating new accounts multiple times. Identification verification help prevent these gamblers from taking advantage of these promotions.
All casinos only allow one account per person. If you are caught creating a second one, they will cancel your first account, and you will not be able to withdraw any of your funds and winnings from there. In worse cases, they will block all the accounts you have made and will ban you from playing on their platform.
Acceptable IDs for Casinos
Here are the IDs for online casinos you should prepare beforehand:
A passport is one of the most common government-issued identification cards required for players to submit to their online casino. Some platforms will specifically need a passport, while some will accept any ID with your photo on it.
Aside from your passport, your driver’s license is also a valid ID for verification on online casinos. You just have to make sure that it is not expired.
Utility bills are used as proof of address. Some online casinos only cater to customers in a specific geographical area. In other words, they don’t accept players from other countries or states. With this, they will have to verify where you live.
You must submit a recent utility bill for any of the following:
- Council tax
- Recent building society or credit union statement
Bank statements can also help verify your address. However, they usually ask them to see any irregular income patterns in your account. It will help them monitor potential money launderers that might be using their platform to conduct their illegal activities.
If you’re planning to sign up on an online casino, prepare at least two types of IDs as some platforms require two or more.
Some casinos would ask you to submit your KYC documents when signing up for an account. However, it is now common for casinos not to ask for IDs right away to attract more customers. Instead, you will have to submit your documents before you can make your first withdrawal. Failure to provide a valid ID forfeits your chance to claim your winnings.
The casino KYC process can indeed be time-consuming, especially if you just want to play and enjoy it immediately. However, these protocols are set to keep you and the operators safe. So the best thing to do is to comply and follow their requirements. Besides, once you’re cleared, you can just play your favorite games as much as you want.