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
- to check 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, the company must check that you are old enough to gamble before allowing you to deposit money or access any free-to-play games. If it can’t confirm your age, your account will not be activated.
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. If you have asked to withdraw funds from your account, the company must not demand that you provide additional information as a condition of releasing those funds, if they could have reasonably asked for that information earlier. However, the company can still ask you to provide information if they need to ask for it at that time to meet an obligation in the law.
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.