New rules come into force on 7th May which will see UK Gambling Commission licensed operators having to enforce stricter checks on customers, by way of identity checks, to ensure they are of legal age. This is one of several areas that the UKGC will be strengthening, in part to ensure under age individuals are unable to gamble online.
Currently operators have 72 hours to verify a customers identity and age, with customers not being allowed to withdraw any funds until the identity and age check have been performed. However, the new rules which come into force on 7th May this year, will mean that operators will have to ensure identity and age verification procedures are performed before a customer can either deposit at an operation or accept a bonus or free bet.
In a move that is likely to be disconcerting for operators, players and also affiliates, this is an area which will also have an affect on free play games. With an age verification system having to be put in place, before visitors to either an operators or affiliates site can access and play any of the demo slot or casino games available.
For the online casinos that feature demo games this should not be too much trouble to implement. However, for many affiliate sites which showcase free play games, this could mean a lot of work. Especially considering the legislation concerning GDRP that will have to be factored into implementing any age verification system, that is put in place on a free games site.
Speaking about the changes which come into affect on 7th May, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission Chief Executive, said: “These changes will protect children and the vulnerable from gambling-related harm, and reduce the risk of crime linked to gambling. They will also make gambling fairer by helping consumers collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.’”
“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 regulatory action into the online sector. We will keep using our powers to raise standards for consumers.”
Whilst 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.”