What Is KYC (Know Your Customer) in Gambling?

what is kyc in gambling

The Know Your Customer is a verification procedure in most online casinos and bookies. Also known as KYC gambling, this process ensures that the person who gambles isn’t self-restricted and also is of legal status to participate in the regulated activities by law.

This casino verification is important for both parties – the casino and the players. On one end, KYC is important for casinos because it allows them to verify the players’ identities and pose as more reputable on the market. For you, a fast KYC process is the first sign that you picked a good casino. Time to explain why.

What Is KYC In Gambling?

KYC stands for Know Your Customer.

Online gambling with KYC is a standardised approach to online identity verification. In the iGaming market, KYC processes have become an industry standard. Not only are they used for verifying players’ identity, but their address and (in some cases) ownership of selected payment methods.

Wait, do all betting sites need verification nowadays? During our tests, we found out that most casinos require players to submit a photo of their ID and/or a utility bill to verify both identity and address. If you’re not willing to do that, you can always check out our list of online sportsbooks without verification procedures.

Why KYC Is Important In Online Gambling

The KYC process in online gambling is important for several key things. The sole fact it provides effective online gambling verification makes it an important tool in every online casino’s arsenal. Why is that important? because not only does it effectively tackle underage gambling but it also curbs other fraudulent behaviours including identity theft and credit card scams.

Furthermore, KYC processes allow casinos to better monitor players who might be at risk of problem gambling through betting site verification and monitoring. A perfect example of such a system is the pivot project called GamProtect which monitors and safely shares high-risk players across several gambling platforms.

Know Your Customer Process in Online Gambling

While the KYC process itself seems pretty basic, there are a few key differences you’ll notice when you switch between different online casinos. The first thing you’ll notice is that different casinos have different casino KYC requirements players have to meet when submitting their documentation. Most of these processes are one-time things, but there are those that practise ongoing monitoring instead of a one-off approach.

  • Player Registration for an Account
    Contrary to popular belief, ID verification in gambling isn’t required right after registering for an account. According to our observations, most online casinos require players to verify their identity and address before allowing them to withdraw their winnings.
  • Submission of Supporting Documents
    Likely most casinos have straightforward KYC processes. everything starts with players submitting the supported documents post up there are two main methods of verification. First, proof of identity. Second, proof of address. Typically, the KYC submissions will either be rejected or approved within 48 hours.
  • Review by Trained Personnel or Automated Systems
    Why does the verification process last up to 48 hours you may ask. It’s because the document submissions have to be manually reviewed by trained personnel. This is what most online casinos do these days. However, some have automated systems for reviewing KYC submissions and are typically much faster.
  • Approval
    If the documentation you submitted passes the verification requirements you will get an email confirming that you’ve successfully finished the know your customer verification process. As mentioned earlier this usually takes from 24 to 48 hours to complete.
  • Ongoing Monitoring
    Most online casinos don’t practise ongoing monitoring of their KYC processes however if the casino’s internal systems detect you as a high-risk player you might have to go through additional verification steps later. No worries you will be promptly notified via email of any further adjustments you might have to make to your account verification

What Forms of ID Do Casinos Accept?

The casino ID check has several “steps”. The first step is identity verification which is done with either a passport, a driving licence, or another form of a government-issued ID. Proof of address verification, however, requires players to submit a utility bill of sorts. For example gas, electricity, or a phone bill with clearly written first name, last name, and associated address. Obviously, all information has to match the info on the player’s casino account.

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Military ID
  • Other Forms of Government-Issued ID

Why Do Casinos Ask For ID When Cashing Out?

Usually, it’s a standard practice. Some casinos require new players to verify their identity and address immediately after registration. Others, however, require the same when these accounts first request a withdrawal. In our experience, casino ID requirements are roughly the same, with the main difference being in the timing. For the best experience, we recommend completing the KYC process before making your first deposit. You can never be too safe!

Current KYC Regulations for Gambling In The UK

Let’s start with a simple question: do casinos ask for ID when serving British players? UK-based online casinos are known for having to adhere to some of the strictest regulations in the world. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is notorious for its meticulousness, so this comes as no surprise.

In short, KYC in online casinos licenced by the UKGC is an absolute necessity. UKGC requires licensees to obtain and verify information of every single player before learning what is the gambling age and allowing them to place a deposit and gamble online. The law is quite clear, which is why UKGC stands proudly as the most respected gambling regulator in the world.

Risks of Casinos That Don’t Comply with KYC

Not all casinos are in perfect compliance with KYC. The best Know Your Customer casino you can find is licensed by the UKGC. Why? Because it has to adhere to an insanely strict set of verification requirements, which means superior standards to its peers.

However, you can find plenty of equally reputable casinos without ID verification or similar procedures. Most of them can’t be trusted, though. But, we have reviews for a plethora of such sites with objective and up-to-date info for you to explore.

  • Increased Risk of Fraud and Money Laundering
    Let’s address the elephant in the room right away: casinos without KYC verification are a fertile field for money laundering and other fraudulent activities. These casinos run no background scans of their players and will accept pretty much anyone who decides to sign up, no matter their age, residency, or other factors.
  • Legal and Regulatory Penalties
    If a UK casino doesn’t comply with specific rules in terms of KYC or AML, it won’t get the gambling licence it needs to legally provide gambling activities to UK residents. If they continue doing so, they could get in more trouble and risk additional legal and regulatory penalties.
  • Damage to Reputation and Trust
    Players are getting increasingly more knowledgeable in terms of online gambling regulation and licensing. These days, players know what certain regulators require and often deem unlicensed brands as untrustworthy. Need we remind you about the importance of reputation in online gambling waters?
  • Negative Impact on Player Safety and Security
    In most cases, casinos that don’t comply with their domestic KYC policies typically don’t comply with safety and security procedures either. This could put your personal and banking data at risk, which is why we always recommend you use properly licensed offshore casinos. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Underage Gambling and Vulnerable Player Exploitation
    Casinos that fail to comply with KYC requirements risk underage gambling. It’s by far the biggest risk and one we’d never condone. The same goes for the exploitation of vulnerable players; those with a history of problem gambling. If you’re suffering from such issues, we advise you to seek professional help and self-exclude as soon as possible.

Challenges for KYC in Gambling

Of course, nothing comes without downsides these days. Based on our firsthand experience, the same goes for the casino verification process and similar ID check systems. The main challenges are tied to data privacy concerns. Online casinos are required to maintain secure connections for receiving and storing ID scans and photos, especially in the EU which is known for its strict GDPR compliance regulations.

  • Data Privacy Concerns
    First things first, the biggest challenge for KYC is data privacy. Players are understandably concerned for the safety of the govt-issued IDs they have to submit. Plus, gambling can affect your credit score negatively, which is another reason why an increasing number of players flock to offshore sites. It’s a legit reason, mind you.
  • User Experience Impact
    KYC has a notable impact on overall user experience too. It’s a double-edged sword, though. On one end, players appreciate licensed casinos and understand the need for KYC. On the other hand, some are sceptical toward KYC or simply want a more unrestricted gambling experience that’s typically available at offshore casinos.
  • Verification Delays
    Another big challenge for KYC processes on online gambling sites is the delay they cause. Casinos with immediate post-registration KYC won’t get any action from newly registered players up to 48 hours after registration. They can’t allow them to play games or gamble on the platform in any way.
  • Fraudulent Activities
    Even though KYC verification tries to lock out unwanted players (underage gamblers, problem gamblers), people still try to bypass the system using all sorts of fraudulent activities. However, with recent advancements in AI systems, KYC verifications are smarter and more advanced than ever.
  • Impact on Conversion Rates
    Last but not least, KYC verification has a negative impact on conversion rates. How come? It’s simple! According to our observations, casinos with harsh KYC immediately after registering typically lose a big portion of potential players due to residency restrictions, underage accounts, and previously banned players.

Can You Use A Fake ID At A Casino?

Technically, it is possible. But, even if everything seems to be working fine in the beginning, sooner or later you’ll get caught. The Gambling Commission acceptable identification documents seem like a fine point of entry, but you’ll get caught eventually. Once you get caught, all of the funds on that account will be lost. Your account will be permanently banned and you might even face more serious issues than that.

Nowadays, casinos have such advanced security systems that it’s no longer a question of whether or not cheaters will get caught, but when they will get caught. Finding ways to prevent GamStop will yield far better results than trying to cheat your way through KYC systems. That’s the cold hard truth!

What if Verification Fails?

Some players end up failing the KYC verification. The reason could be anything from poor image quality, wrong documents, or a mismatch in documentation. Some players fail because the casino simply doesn’t offer gambling to residents of their country. If this is the case with you, don’t forget you can try offshore online casinos that typically have a much more lenient approach. Not just for verification, mind you, but payment-wise too.

  • Request for Additional Documentation
    If you get an email stating you’ve failed the KYC verification process at your online casino, you’ll most likely have another shot at submitting the required documentation. In most cases, this is due to slightly blurry images or subpar lighting conditions.
  • Temporary Account Suspension
    Based on our observations over the last few years, most online casinos temporarily suspend accounts which fail the KYC verification process. This, of course, depends on the reason for failure. Submitting a blurry image is not the same as trying to sign up as someone else. The latter is practically committing identity theft.
  • Appeal Process
    Depending on the casino you’re using, you might be able to appeal the process and hop onto a video call with a customer service agent to help you with the account verification.
  • Account Closure
    Some casinos might even decide to delete your gambling account after a failed KYC verification. Luckily, these casinos are still a minority. Even today, most operators just put temporary account suspensions as described above.
  • Refund of Deposits
    Some casinos might even offer you a full refund of your deposits. However, this isn’t as common as you might think. Most casinos get to keep their money with smartly written terms and conditions that result in players basically forfeiting their deposits after failing the KYC process.

About our Author