Has an online gambling site asked you to provide documentation? Don’t panic — this is completely normal. There are valid reasons why gambling sites need to verify your identity.
In this article I’ll tell you everything you need to know about bookmaker/casino verification (KYC) requirements.
Why Do Gambling Sites Ask For Documents?
If you haven’t signed up to many gambling sites then you may find it intrusive to be asked to provide several forms of identification. But document requests are completely normal within the gambling industry and are typically referred to as KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements.
There are valid reasons why gambling sites need to verify their customers:
- Age restrictions. Gambling is a regulated activity with a minimum age (18 in the UK). Governments require that gambling sites check the age of their customers as part of their licence agreement.
- Fraud prevention. Fraudulent betting activity is bad for both gambling vendors and customers. For example a fraudster could:
- Steal an identity and sign up to a gambling site using someone else’s name and/or money.
- Hack another person’s betting account and attempt to withdraw money to their own personal account or e-wallet.
- Anti money laundering. Gambling sites have a duty to detect and report cases where their sites are being used to ‘cleanse’ illegally gained funds. This helps to identify criminals.
- Enforcing self-exclusions. Gambling sites have a duty to protect customers that have self-excluded from their site. By asking for documents gambling sites can detect customers who attempt to open a new account.
- Payment verification. Gambling sites must ensure that withdrawals are transferred to the correct account holder. Once verified, subsequent payments will be faster.
- Location restrictions. Gambling sites are limited by where their licence covers. For example, a gambling site with a UK licence cannot allow customers from the EU to place bets. Therefore gambling companies must check where their customers are based in order to adhere to their licence.
- Withdrawal thresholds exceeded. In some cases you may have been verified already, but have since triggered further KYC requirements. For instance, many betting sites let you withdraw up to £2,000 before additional identity and payment ID checks are required.
What Documents Do Gambling Sites Ask For?
There are a few documents that gambling sites can ask for in order to verify their customers. These are as follows:
- Government-issued photo ID. For example, a driving licence or passport.
- Proof of address. For example a utility bill, or bank statement. Usually this must be a scan of a physical copy — not an electronic version.
- Proof of payment source. For example, a screenshot of your e-wallet account, a bank statement scan, or photo of your debit card which proves that you are the legitimate holder of a particular payment method. Note: you can block out important numbers from your credit card.
You may also be asked to take a selfie holding your photo identification. The purpose of this request is to check whether the person providing the ID is the same person placing the bets. It helps to detect cases where an ID has been stolen.
In some cases bookmakers also send a code by post to your registered address. This code can be entered in your betting account in order to verify your address, thereby adding an extra layer of verification and security.
My advice is to comply will all of these requests to avoid delaying the payment of your winnings.
Why Are My Documents Being Rejected?
Gambling sites are notoriously picky when it comes to documentation. There are several reasons why you may not pass verification:
- A document has been edited. If a document has been tampered with — photoshopped for example — then it it’s very likely to be rejected. You should never edit your documents.
- Wrong documents supplied. Gambling sites aren’t flexible on the types of documents they accept. If you don’t follow their request, your documents will almost certainly be rejected.
- Both sides of your document weren’t provided. Most gambling sites will request to see both sides of your ID. For a driving licence that’s the front and back of the card. For a passport, it’ll be the entire opened book on the photo page.
- Corners aren’t visible. It’s very common for gambling sites to reject documents with cropped corners. Always leave space around all edges of the document to solve this problem.
- Poor image quality. Low resolution or poorly lit photos/scans are likely to be rejected. You may need to change the lighting conditions, or raise the resolution of the image. In some cases this means using a higher spec camera phone, or downloading an app like iScanner as opposed to using an outdated physical scanner.
- Some details aren’t readable. Gambling sites may reject your documents if they are severely damaged, creased — or you have simply covered up key details. If important details aren’t legible then it won’t pass verification.
Also bare in mind that the file type for your images will alter the level of compression, and therefore quality. For instance a .png will be of higher quality than a .jpeg (but the file size will be significantly larger).
If you fail a document request for any of the above reasons, I advise you to re-submit them in the format required.
Unreasonable Documentation Requests
There are unreasonable documentation requests that gambling sites have been known to make, such as:
- Notarised documents. Some players have been asked to provide documents verified by a lawyer/solicitor. These documents are costly as well as time consuming to obtain. This request is usually used as a payment delaying tactic on large withdrawals.
- Source of funds. Some sites have asked players to prove the source of their funds before receiving their winnings (e.g. payslips, bank statements etc). There’s an obvious double standard when the same player was allowed to deposit in the first place without any questions asked. In most cases this request is absurd. However, if it is requested upfront upon making a deposit then it’s most likely due to money laundering prevention, and may have been triggered by large or frequent deposits.
- Several forms of ID. A gambling site may ask for additional documentation despite having received perfectly good ones already. The vendor may point towards fraud prevention or gambling regulations to justify various requests. This frustrating delaying tactic tests the determination of the customer.
If you experience requests of this nature, you have two options. You can comply — then escalate the issue if you’re still without a positive outcome. Or you can refuse, and immediately escalate.
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