Ever heard of Know Your Customer (KYC) and wondered what exactly it means? You’re not alone. Our guide covers everything you need to know about KYC, including why it’s used and how it affects you as a gambler.
What is KYC?
KYC is a process used by online casinos and many other businesses to verify the identity and financial information of customers. The main aim is to assess risk potential, prevent underage gambling and block financial crime, such as fraud, corruption, bribery and money laundering. This helps safeguard the interests of both casinos and their customers.
Why do online casinos use KYC?
All regulated UK gambling sites operate under a license provided by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). These operators, including online casinos and betting sites, are legally required to ensure fair, open, and crime-free gambling. This is achieved, in part, by verifying the identities and financial accounts of people who play at online casinos. If a casino doesn’t adhere to these regulations, it’s at risk of being used for illegal activities and losing its license. Casinos are also subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act and Money Laundering Regulations, so they are very strictly monitored.
Carrying out a KYC check allows a casino to check that you’ve obtained your funds legally and that your identity is legitimate. This also allows casinos to exclude players who aren’t old enough to gamble legally. But it’s not just the betting sites who benefit from this – the KYC process also helps protect your interests by ensuring that your personal and financial information isn’t being used fraudulently. KYC also ensures that casinos maintain their integrity, which helps creates a fair and honest betting environment.
How do I complete the KYC process?
All licensed operators are required to quickly and robustly verify, as a minimum, the age, name and address of a customer. Here’s what you’ll have to do to complete this process:
You can use your passport or driver’s license to verify your identity and age. When it comes to proof of address, operators will usually request either a utility bill or bank statement. Any proof of address will need to have been sent to you within the last three months.
Online casinos can also perform a soft credit check to confirm your identity. This is nothing to worry about, as soft checks can only be used for identification purposes and do not leave a trace, or affect your credit score.
Although these checks can often be used to verify players’ accounts, there is a chance you may be asked to provide additional information, though this is at the casino’s discretion. This is simply the casino carrying out its due diligence – it may simply be that your details registered to the databases they search are different to the ones you signed up with.
Some online casinos may also ask you to provide additional documents for financial verification. If you’re asked for financial information, you will typically need to verify either your payment method or provide proof of earnings to show that your funds have been acquired legally and that deposits and withdrawals are being made by the correct person. Documents you may be able to use include:
- Bank statement
- Scan/photo of bank card or other payment method (e.g. E-wallet)
- Savings account
- Trust deed
- Director’s remuneration
The additional requirements may vary from casino to casino. Also, the documents you provide will only be accepted if they are legible and of good quality. So when scanning or photographing your documents, make sure that the images are clear and that the whole document is visible in the frame of the scanned image.
How will my information be used and stored?
Online casinos will essentially inspect the documentation you provide to ensure that it is legitimate and matches up with the personal and financial details you have already provided. It will then be stored on their system.
In the age of cybersecurity and data protection, it’s understandable to be concerned about handing out personal information over the internet. However, you need not worry, as all UK licensed casinos are bound by strict data privacy laws, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), that regulate how they handle your data. Your data will be stored in a password-restricted and secured digital system, will only be used internally, and won’t be shared without your consent. Only authorised and trained personnel will be able to access your details, so you’re in safe hands.
How does KYC affect my betting?
You’ll be required to verify your age before you can:
- Deposit funds into your account
- Access any free-to-play games the casino may make available
- Gamble at the casino with either your own money, or a free bet or bonus
You’ll also be required to verify, as a minimum, your name, address and date of birth in order to gamble.
Whilst many may see this as a tedious task, just remember that there is good reason behind these procedures. Without KYC checks, UK gamblers wouldn’t be able to enjoy playing at fair and regulated casinos, and it would be much easier for someone to use your details and finances fraudulently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all UK online casinos carry out KYC checks?
Yes. All casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are required by law to carry out their due diligence when verifying customers. You can easily check whether a betting site is licensed or not via the UK Gambling Commission website.
What if I don’t have the required documentation?
The first thing you should do is contact the betting site and ask if there is an alternative form of documentation you can supply. If you need proof of address or finances, ask your bank if they can supply you with a statement. If you don’t have a valid passport or driver’s license, check if the casino will accept a birth certificate or other form of ID. If not, you’ll have to order one and wait for it to arrive.
Where can I get more information on KYC?
You can receive additional information by searching the website and contacting the customer services team of your chosen online casino.
Should I inform my online casino if my details change?
If there are any changes to your personal details, it’s a good idea to update your account at your online casino to help prevent any future issues. Casinos are already required to take reasonable steps to ensure that information on their customers’ identities remains accurate, so you may be prompted to confirm whether your details are still accurate from time to time.