Why ID verification is important
When you open an account with an online gambling company, the company needs to check who you are. It does this for three main reasons:
- to check you are old enough to gamble
- whether you have self-excluded from gambling
- to confirm your identity.
The company can often do this by looking at databases that hold a range of information about people and matching that with the information on your account.
But there may be occasions when this information is not enough to be sure who you are. For example, if information has been spelt wrongly or people with similar names live at the same address. In these situations you may be asked to provide copies of documents that prove who you are. This could include passports, driving licences and household bills.
Checking you are old enough to gamble
If you have opened an account and deposited money, the company has 72 hours to check that you are old enough to gamble. If it can’t confirm your age within that time, it must freeze the account.
You will not be allowed to withdraw any winnings until your age is confirmed. If the company’s checks show that you are not old enough to gamble the money that you staked or deposited in your account must be returned, but you will not get any winnings.
Checking you have not self-excluded
You can ask to self-exclude from a gambling company’s site. If you do that, the company must take reasonable steps to prevent you from gambling. Those steps can include checking that someone creating an account is not a self-excluded person trying to gamble under a different identity.
Checking you are not using criminal proceeds
There are laws that try to prevent criminals spending money gained through crime and turning it into legitimate looking funds. They may attempt to use gambling websites for this purpose and gambling companies must deal with that risk by checking the identity of their customers.
In our rules we say that gambling companies must be able to identify separate accounts that are held with them by the same person. It is for the companies to decide whether they allow customers to have more than one account. If one does not, it might ask for information to help it make sure that a customer only has one account. If a company does allow multiple accounts, it may choose to ask customers for information to help it monitor those accounts, including for the reasons mentioned above. Offers created by the company, such as free bets and bonuses, are often limited to one per customer. It might seek information to check that customers are not getting around these limits.
When the gambling company is checking your identity for another reason, it can freeze your account until it has confirmed who you are. There is no time limit on how long it can do this for.
We tell the gambling companies that they must know their customers are old enough to gamble and confirm their identity. We do not say what sorts of information they should ask for. If you are not happy about the information you have been asked to give, you must to contact the company direct.