Age verification is a protective measure used by online casinos to limit access to betting and gaming for those who are not over the legitimate age threshold. In other words, age verification is basically checking you are old enough to legally gamble online.
If you were to walk into a casino in person, a staff member will ask you to show ID you to confirm your age. The same rule applies for an online casino when you register, however this time as they cannot see you, they must validate everyone’s ID to prove their date of birth – whether you are 18 or 100!
What is the Process of Age Verification?
In the UK, the legal age to gamble is 18 and operators must verify your age and identity before letting you deposit your cash or access any of their free to play games. Usually, an online casino will ask for your name, address and date of birth as part of their registration process. It will then match the information on your account with a range of databases that hold similar information about you when you enter your details, for example, if you’ve registered to vote. However, sometimes this information doesn’t match up and further information might be required. This can happen if you are not a UK citizen, if you have used different addresses on your account for your payment method to your registered address or sometimes, it can happen at random in a random ‘spot check’.
If the database cannot match you with your relevant information, then you will be asked to provide copies of one of the following to the online casino:
- your passport, driving licence or NI card
- recent bank statement or scanned front and back of your payment method
- household bills statement, phone bill or council tax bill
The online casino asks for this as a way to verify the identity of their customers and will largely accept colour scans of these documents sent via email. This kind of verification process can take a while and you can be waiting for a response for a number of days. You can also opt for regular post if you wish, but just be aware that this can take even longer to process.
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you sign up using eWallet services such as Skrill, PayPal or Neteller it’s more likely you will be asked for further ID. This also applies if you use a foreign bank card or account number, so it’s always best to register with a UK bank account (if you have one) and then switch over after you are verified.
Why is Age Verification Important?
It’s important for an online casino to verify your age for the protection of minors and vulnerable people from gambling. It’s also vital for online casinos to do age and identity checks to prevent both fraud and money laundering. Not only this, but unverified accounts are also the main reason online casinos refuse to pay out winnings. Some online casinos may still allow you to deposit funds and bet without the proper verification, but they will not let you withdraw the funds that you have won, so for your own sake it’s always best to ensure your account is verified and read the terms and conditions.
Top tip: Always check your online casino is licensed by the UKGC. It is illegal to operate in the UK without a licence however, lots of sites that are unlicensed still accept UK players and do not ask for age verification. These gambling sites provide you with no legal protection at all and could close your account and take all your funds if they wanted to.
What Happens if a Casino Does Not Have Any Age Verification?
If an online casino cannot confirm your age, then your account will not be activated, and you will not be able to deposit money, play games or withdraw funds. If you provide all of the information required including proof of residency, date of birth and valid full name but you are still not verified then there is little you can really do. As online casinos are private businesses, it is their prerogative to disallow you an account but there are lots of other online casinos available for you to pick from.
Age Verification Verdict
So, in order to legally acquire an online gambling account in the UK, you must be 18 years old. You must also be able to provide your name, address and date of birth for age verification checks. The UK Gambling Commission tightened up these rules for online operators in May of last year to ensure that verification checks should be requested before customers deposit funds or place a bet. See the full statement here.