A word from the UKGC on SOW practices

satchnz

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Location
Essex, UK
Hi all,

I had a bit of time on my hands recently so I decided to contact the UKGC regarding the legality/ethicality of online casinos doing SOW checks at time of withdrawal rather than when a deposit is made. After all, if you lose a deposit, you are very unlikely to be hit with SOW checks.

I thought I’d share the correspondence here as others might find it interesting and/or useful.

The question I asked (note: I was limited to 400 characters on their online form)

Hi, I’ve read numerous accounts online where players are asked to provide source of wealth information to online UK casinos when requesting a withdrawal. Is this the intended use of the legislation put in place? Or should online casinos be doing this process at the time of deposit where a deposit might be flagged for such review? Doing this check at time of withdrawal doesn’t seem right. Thanks​

The response I received

Thank you for contacting the Gambling Commission.​
From your correspondence I understand that you would like to know more about source of wealth checks that UK casinos carry out online.​
Online gambling businesses must establish a customers name, address, and date of birth before allowing them to gamble. They may be in breach of a licence condition if they don’t do this.
The gambling business may be able to verify this information electronically. For example, they may use credit referencing agencies and the electoral roll. If they can verify a customers identity this way, the gambling business will allow the customer to place bets without the need to provide further information. If not, they will ask for identity documents. This can include copies of a passport, driving licence and utility bills.​
The payer’s name, including for example the ‘cardholder name’ details on a debit card, is not verified during a payment authorisation process. Online retailers, including gambling businesses, therefore cannot verify that the payer is the same person as the gambling account holder.​
Gambling businesses cannot demand that a customer submits further information as a condition of withdrawing funds if they could have reasonably asked for that information earlier.​
However, gambling businesses have other legal duties. They must ensure that their businesses aren’t being used for criminal purposes. They need to have processes in place to assess the risk of fraud or money laundering and take steps to prevent it.​
If a gambling business needs to ask customers for more information, they must do so at the earliest opportunity. Gambling businesses should only rarely need to ask for more information after the customer has asked to withdraw funds.​
But there may be some circumstances where a gambling business could not have identified a need to ask for additional information earlier. This may mean their request may coincide with the customer’s request to withdraw funds.​
This could be because the gambling activity on a customer’s account looks unusual. For example, there may be a spike in the number of bets or higher stakes, followed by a request to withdraw funds. This type of activity may trigger an intervention by the gambling business based on its policies, procedures and controls, or other legal requirements. It may ask the customer for more information as part of its investigations to prevent criminal activity such as fraud or money laundering.​
Casino operators – including online casino businesses that provide slot games, roulette, poker, or Blackjack etc - must also apply customer due diligence (CDD) measures, including where any transaction amounts to the equivalent of €2,000 or more. The amount is set in Euros because the requirement comes from European law on money laundering. For British customers gambling in pounds sterling, gambling businesses will take account of the pounds sterling equivalent. This rule applies to a single transaction and where several transactions appear to be linked. Deposits to a gambling account and the withdrawal of funds from a gambling account are both classed as transactions. This means that where a transaction (or several transactions that are linked) on your account amounts to the equivalent of €2000, the casino may ask you for further information as part of its legal duties.​
Before a customer registers with a gambling business, the business must tell them the types of information it might need. They must also tell them when they might be asked to provide the information​
If you have concerns about the information requested a businesses requests, or when these requests are done, you can raise your concerns to the businesses directly.​
Thank you for contacting us, I hope you find this information helpful.​
Yours sincerely​
Contact Team Adviser
GAMBLING COMMISSION
Victoria Square House
Victoria Square
Birmingham B2 4BP
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
 

bamberfishcake

Senior Member
PABinit
MM
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Location
Essex
If a gambling business needs to ask customers for more information, they must do so at the earliest opportunity

This is where the ruling falls short I think.

It's not quantified what the earliest opportunity is and is open to interpretation and manipulation from the casino.

With everything they have to do it's not hard to argue they did it at the earliest opportunity.
 

satchnz

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Location
Essex, UK
This is where the ruling falls short I think.

It's not quantified what the earliest opportunity is and is open to interpretation and manipulation from the casino.

With everything they have to do it's not hard to argue they did it at the earliest opportunity.
And if the online casino refuses to pay out given the believe they are following the legislation then what can the customer do? The UKGC said above “If you have concerns about the information requested a businesses requests, or when these requests are done, you can raise your concerns to the businesses directly.”

In other words…we are here to make these (the SOW) rules, not enforce them.
 

Mr_Slot5

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Location
North West
This is where the ruling falls short I think.

It's not quantified what the earliest opportunity is and is open to interpretation and manipulation from the casino.

With everything they have to do it's not hard to argue they did it at the earliest opportunity.
I would imagine it would be fairly easy for the player to win in a court of law as they would likely view ‘earliest opportunity’ as a lot sooner than anyone else (given they would be privy to the entire customer- casino relationship).

This is probably why we hear of casinos paying out before it gets to the summons stage.

A simple letter before action will probably suffice…but it shouldn’t even have to get to that stage at all.
 

satchnz

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Location
Essex, UK
I would imagine it would be fairly easy for the player to win in a court of law as they would likely view ‘earliest opportunity’ as a lot sooner than anyone else (given they would be privy to the entire customer- casino relationship).

This is probably why we hear of casinos paying out before it gets to the summons stage.
Agree but you’d have to have a fairly healthy withdrawal to risk £100s to £1000s on legal fees.
 

Mr_Slot5

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Location
North West
Agree but you’d have to have a fairly healthy withdrawal to risk £100s to £1000s on legal fees.
Not much of a risk really if you’ve done nothing wrong. No court will side with the casino withholding winnings if there has been no breach by the player.

As a casino it could all be avoided by paying out and then closing the account immediately if no information is forthcoming from the player…except in more clear cut cases of fraud where the money should rightly be withheld.
 
Last edited:

justdoit

Full Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
I don't trust UKGC thas way I play on Crypto casinos, they make the rules only for their own interest so they can get Millions every year from casinos, how UKGC deal is stupid, is like banks tell us bank money with as but we don't give a shit if you get scam, you get 0 % protection, even their Gamestop deal doesn't work you can trick it very easy on some small UKGC casinos
 

satchnz

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Location
Essex, UK
Not much of a risk really if you’ve done nothing wrong. No court will side with the casino withholding winnings if there has been no breach by the player.

As a casino it could all be avoided by paying out and then closing the account immediately if no information is forthcoming from the player…except in more clear cut cases of fraud where the money should rightly be withheld.
Would still have to be a healthy withdrawal to spend £100s of it on lawyer fees to get it.
 

justdoit

Full Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Hi all,

I had a bit of time on my hands recently so I decided to contact the UKGC regarding the legality/ethicality of online casinos doing SOW checks at time of withdrawal rather than when a deposit is made. After all, if you lose a deposit, you are very unlikely to be hit with SOW checks.

I thought I’d share the correspondence here as others might find it interesting and/or useful.

The question I asked (note: I was limited to 400 characters on their online form)

Hi, I’ve read numerous accounts online where players are asked to provide source of wealth information to online UK casinos when requesting a withdrawal. Is this the intended use of the legislation put in place? Or should online casinos be doing this process at the time of deposit where a deposit might be flagged for such review? Doing this check at time of withdrawal doesn’t seem right. Thanks​

The response I received

Thank you for contacting the Gambling Commission.​
From your correspondence I understand that you would like to know more about source of wealth checks that UK casinos carry out online.​
Online gambling businesses must establish a customers name, address, and date of birth before allowing them to gamble. They may be in breach of a licence condition if they don’t do this.​
The gambling business may be able to verify this information electronically. For example, they may use credit referencing agencies and the electoral roll. If they can verify a customers identity this way, the gambling business will allow the customer to place bets without the need to provide further information. If not, they will ask for identity documents. This can include copies of a passport, driving licence and utility bills.​
The payer’s name, including for example the ‘cardholder name’ details on a debit card, is not verified during a payment authorisation process. Online retailers, including gambling businesses, therefore cannot verify that the payer is the same person as the gambling account holder.​
Gambling businesses cannot demand that a customer submits further information as a condition of withdrawing funds if they could have reasonably asked for that information earlier.​
However, gambling businesses have other legal duties. They must ensure that their businesses aren’t being used for criminal purposes. They need to have processes in place to assess the risk of fraud or money laundering and take steps to prevent it.​
If a gambling business needs to ask customers for more information, they must do so at the earliest opportunity. Gambling businesses should only rarely need to ask for more information after the customer has asked to withdraw funds.​
But there may be some circumstances where a gambling business could not have identified a need to ask for additional information earlier. This may mean their request may coincide with the customer’s request to withdraw funds.​
This could be because the gambling activity on a customer’s account looks unusual. For example, there may be a spike in the number of bets or higher stakes, followed by a request to withdraw funds. This type of activity may trigger an intervention by the gambling business based on its policies, procedures and controls, or other legal requirements. It may ask the customer for more information as part of its investigations to prevent criminal activity such as fraud or money laundering.​
Casino operators – including online casino businesses that provide slot games, roulette, poker, or Blackjack etc - must also apply customer due diligence (CDD) measures, including where any transaction amounts to the equivalent of €2,000 or more. The amount is set in Euros because the requirement comes from European law on money laundering. For British customers gambling in pounds sterling, gambling businesses will take account of the pounds sterling equivalent. This rule applies to a single transaction and where several transactions appear to be linked. Deposits to a gambling account and the withdrawal of funds from a gambling account are both classed as transactions. This means that where a transaction (or several transactions that are linked) on your account amounts to the equivalent of €2000, the casino may ask you for further information as part of its legal duties.​
Before a customer registers with a gambling business, the business must tell them the types of information it might need. They must also tell them when they might be asked to provide the information​
If you have concerns about the information requested a businesses requests, or when these requests are done, you can raise your concerns to the businesses directly.​
Thank you for contacting us, I hope you find this information helpful.​
Yours sincerely​
Contact Team Adviser​
GAMBLING COMMISSION
Victoria Square House​
Victoria Square​
Birmingham B2 4BP​
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
Screenshot 2021-12-10 at 13.46.26.png
 

bamberfishcake

Senior Member
PABinit
MM
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Location
Essex
I think the rulings are deliberately ambiguous also to make it easy for the UKGC to fine.

If the rules were black and white, it would be rare for casinos to get in trouble or require any enforcement.

It creates more work, more opportunities for fines and fuels the economics of legislating an industry.
 

johnnymcc1966

Meister Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Location
United Kingdom
Why do they (casinos) need to see a customers bank statement though? That goes way overboard in my view and I simply don't want nor trust any casino with that information.
 

Casinomeister

Forum Cheermeister
Staff member
Joined
Jun 30, 1998
Location
Bierland
Hi all,

I had a bit of time on my hands recently so I decided to contact the UKGC regarding the legality/ethicality of online casinos doing SOW checks at time of withdrawal rather than when a deposit is made. After all, if you lose a deposit, you are very unlikely to be hit with SOW checks.

...
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see where they mentioned anything about Source of Wealth doc checks.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top