UKGC Rules Age Verification Needed Even for Free-to-play Games

UKGC rules age verification needed even for free-to-play gamesDid you know British players now have to register and verify their age at an online casino even if you want to try the free-to-play games. As per a recently changed regulations to the UK Gambling Commissions’ Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP), players in the UK will now have to register but also verify their age at an online casino to get access to the free demo versions of any casino game. The LCCP changes on age verification came into effect from 7 May 2019 and that’s the reason all your favourite online playing sites must have been asking you for age verification related documents. 

New age verification rules in the UK

Before, Online casino operators were given 72 hours to carry out age verification checks, which UKGC noted was a loophole as it gave a window to many underage players to gamble. Therefore, as per the new rules, the age verification step will now have to be carried out immediately by the casino site when any new player joins their platform. So, verifying your age will become a part of the registration process in the UK. 

Apart from verifying the age of their players, online casinos will also have to verify their identity. That is, gaming sites operating in the UK will now have to also verify, at a minimum, the name, address and date of birth of a customer before allowing them to gamble. Earlier, these basic Know-Your-Customer checks weren’t done upfront. In fact, most casinos did the KYC only at the time of making withdrawals. And if the player was found to be underage at the time of cashing out, the operator had to return their stakes. Now, players won’t be allowed to bet real money unless their identity has been verified.

For a fairer gaming experience

Having all the above information upfront will also help gaming operators better prevent harm and detect any criminal activity. It will also save the players from the hassle of submitting extensive ID proofs that are sometimes demanded by shady operators only at the time of cashing out your winnings. The UKGC says 15% of the complaints it received from consumers were about this issue. With these new rules, the gambling commission also wants to make the online slot sites a safer and fairer place for all the players. 

While the identity version rule applies only to real money games, the age verification has to be done for playing any kind of game, including the free-play-games. Also, the UKGC does not prescribe exactly how gambling operators should complete age verification checks and customer due diligence. However, we are already seeing many online casino sites have implemented these new measures carefully to meet the UKGC’s requirements.

Affiliates have to comply too

The above-mentioned changes in rules will also apply to all the affiliate sites as well as lotteries. The UKGC specifically urged all affiliates to ensure that they have the age verification systems in place as the regulator observed that affiliates often “offer free-to-play versions of real money games on their websites without the necessary accompanying age verification of users.” The regulator suggested that the affiliates should conduct themselves as if they were bound by the same licence conditions and subject to the same codes of practice as the licensed gambling operators.

Gambling addiction among young players in the UK has been a rising problem for a few years now and the regulator’s steps are therefore in the right direction. The industry too was quick to react to the changes and all big casino sites and their affiliates have already implemented the new regulations. Hopefully, this will keep the underage from any form of gambling, including the free games.

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