Several gambling markets are facing increased regulatory pressure as operators are scrambling to prevent problem and underage gambling from taking place. Regulators are known for handing out huge fines & stripping licenses if they find operators guilty of allowing self-excluded or underage gamblers from playing on their platforms.
In such a scenario, reliable and effective identity verification can be helpful for all involved parties. It enhances player security & promotes a transparent situation where both operators and players remain safe. However, there is a challenge involved – How can an operator verify his players’ identities effectively without hurting the customer onboarding process?
Bank statements, government-issued identification, and bills may be used for verifying identities. These may be compared against relevant databases for ensuring their authenticity. Identity documents can be manually verified; however, they take a lot of time and are also prone to error. But Artificial Intelligence solutions can be used for performing these checks at a faster and more accurate rate compared to manual reviews. Additionally, operators are now using artificial intelligence for detecting problem gamblers.
Although some regulatory bodies are reluctant to use mobile technologies for providing accurate and authentic biometrics-based ID verification, some operators are combining biometric tech and AI to gather more details about the identity of a player.
For instance, requiring players to snap a selfie in which they hold their official ID can help operators verifying whether the player ID is authentic or not. It is extremely valuable, especially when you take into consideration the fact that many underage gamblers are using the details of their parents to sign up for gambling websites. Stolen ID problems are also increasing rapidly around the world. This solution can end the menace caused by these problems.
This is a relatively unknown method. However, geolocation has a number of advantages for companies who run operations around the world. For instance, in the EU, Dutch operators aren’t allowed to provide their services to the citizens of the Netherlands. However, they are allowed to accept players hailing from other regions. If they were to permit Dutch citizens to start playing on their platforms, by mistake or otherwise, operators will be required to shell out massive fines. Fines can cost a company dearly.
Geolocation can be useful in such cases. It can help operators verify that their players are residing in the right jurisdiction. It may also be utilized along with the ID proof that players are required to provide during their registration process. Geolocation tech has also been able to counter the menace caused by proxy servers and VPNs.
Checks & databases
As per the UK’s official information website, identity checks should include 5 components:
- The identity should legally belong to the individual who has claimed it;
- The identity should be checked whether it was obtained via fraudulent means;
- The identity should have been in existence for a long period;
- The identity must be a valid one;
- Ample proof of the identity must be presented.
A driver’s license, passport, and other official documentation, containing the name, address & date of birth of a person can be considered as evidence of identity. This evidence may be compared against various sources like government databases. There must also be evidence of repeat payments & other bank transactions in order to ensure that this identity has not been fraudulently obtained. Stolen identities are considered to be at risk of fraud and have to be excluded immediately. By asking players for details that only there are likely to know & by ensuring that their photo matches the ID, operators can ensure that the identity being presented is a valid and legal one.
The documents and details presented by players may be checked against various public and private databases, like those belonging to law enforcement or credit rating companies.
A number of countries also have national identity databases or governmental organizations that exist for the sole purpose of verifying ID documents. Since only certain authorities have clearance to access this database, it is necessary for operators to utilize third-party services for verifying ID, something that can cost the company a lot. There are many agencies that have been authorized by the government to perform ID verification and related processes.
The United Kingdom runs a problem gambling initiative, which could be adopted by other jurisdictions as well. Gamstop happens to be a completely free service, which can help gamblers who want to self-exclude themselves. Players who believe that they might have an issue can sign up any time and get themselves banned from casinos, both offline and online, operating inside the UK. If these operators are using Gamstop’s services, any self-excluded player will be denied permission to play on online casinos in the UK.
What do players want & need?
Having long customer onboarding processes is an instant turnoff for most players. Players are looking for smooth, simple, and short onboarding processes. Any disruptions to this, and they’ll immediately go to another platform where they can find it. Extended customer onboarding processes also increase player turnover rate. It is absolutely necessary that the signup process be as quick as possible. Many operators provide detailed information about how much time it would take for players to complete their onboarding & allow players to track their progress. Additionally, industry leaders are teaming up to adopt a single customer onboarding process that can be used by multiple brands. In such a scenario, operators without such measures in place might have to wind up soon.
Online casino platforms have a lot to lose. Allowing self-excluded or underage gamblers to sign up by accident may cause them to face humongous fines. ID verification techniques are useful in such scenarios and have already eclipsed previous review processes. With regulators adopting, and even mandating the use of technology in some cases, such tools are clearly the way forward for online casino operators.