The questions posed in the Gambling Commission’s consultation on age and identity verification

We reported last week on a newly published Gambling Commission consultation on age and identify verification, containing proposals to amend its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”) by requiring remote licence-holders to:

  • verify the age of all remote gambling customers before they can:
    • deposit money or gamble, and/or
    • access play-for-free versions of gambling games that a licence-holder make available on its website, and
  • verify more information about their customers at an earlier stage in the relationship, to ensure they are better equipped to reduce the risks to the licensing objectives.

The consultation document takes the form of an online survey, which is not easy to navigate if you want to read through all of it before starting to answer all 38 questions that are posed within it.

This raises concern that a number of licensed operators may not respond to the consultation, with the possible consequence that the Commission may receive a greater number of responses from consumers, to whom the consultation is also specifically aimed. This may have the effect of skewing the Commission’s reaction to the responses that it receives.

In the hope that it will assist, we are setting out below each of the 38 questions that are posed in the online survey, although we emphasise that it is crucial that operators wishing to respond to these questions do carefully read through the entire consultation proposals before answering.

It should be noted that questions 24-38 below are directed at mandatory account limits (which could only be changed once a licence-holder has further verified information about the customer) even though, at this stage, the Commission is not proposing to introduce a specific licence condition or code to require mandatory account limits. Nevertheless, the Commission states that this “could later inform specific proposals on mandatory account limits to strengthen provisions for preventing gambling-related harm” when it consults on strengthening requirements for customer interaction in early 2019.

Initial questions of respondents

  1. What is your name? (Q1)
  2. What is your email address? (Q2)
  3. What is your organisation? (Q3)

Questions on age verification – proposed changes to SR Code 3.2.11

  1. Do you agree that remote betting and gaming licensees should be required to verify the age of customers before they can deposit money or gamble? (Q4)
  2. Do you agree that remote betting and gaming licensees should be required to verify the age of customers before they can access play-for-free versions of gambling games that licensees make available on their websites? (Q5)
  3. Do you agree that [the Commission] should remove the current provision that licensees must ‘require their customers to affirm that they are of legal age’? (Q6)
  4. For licensees: If possible provide an estimate of the costs that might be incurred by your business through implementing the proposed changes to SR Code 3.2.11. Such costs might include, for example, technological changes (including software development and associated staff time), familiarisation costs in terms of staff training, or other business impact costs. Please also provide details of one-off costs and any annual or ongoing costs from the proposals. (Q7)
  5. For licensees: How long a lead-in time would your business need to implement technical developments in order to deliver the changes proposed to SR Code 3.2.11? (Q8)

Questions on age verification – proposed changes to SR Code 3.2.13

  1. Do you agree that lotteries should verify the age of customers before they are able to participate in online instant wins/digital scratchcards or any lottery (other than a subscription or low frequency lottery)? (Q9)
  2. Do you agree that lotteries should verify the age of customers before they are able to access any free-to-play versions of lotteries online (for example, online instant wins or digital scratchcards). (Q10)
  3. For licensees: If possible provide an estimate of the costs that might be incurred by your business through implementing the proposed changes to SR Code 3.2.13. Such costs might include, for example, technological changes (including software development and associated staff time), familiarisation costs in terms of staff training, or other business impact costs. Please also provide details of one-off costs and any annual or ongoing costs from the proposals. (Q11)
  4. For licensees: How long a lead-in time would your business need to implement technical developments in order to deliver the changes proposed to SR Code 3.2.13? (Q12)

Questions on customer identity verification – proposed new licence condition

  1. Do you agree that remote licensees should verify, as a minimum, the name, address, date of birth and email address of their customers before they are permitted to gamble? (Q13)
  2. Do you agree that licensees should obtain and verify any further information they might require (in particular, information to enable customers to withdraw funds promptly from their accounts, or to enable multiple accounts to be related to one another) before permitting customers to gamble, and where practicable to do so? (Q14)
  3. Do you agree that licensees should be able to provide assurance to the Commission that they have verified the identity of all of their existing customers? (Q15)

Questions on customer identity verification – proposed new licence condition – matching payment methods to the account holder

  1. Do you agree that licensees should be required to verify that an account holder’s identity matches up with the name linked to the payment method they use (for example, that the name associated with a debit card matches the verified name of the gambling account holder)? (Q16)
  2. Does the Commission need to consider introducing any other arrangements to address any practical issues arising from this proposal? In particular, are any arrangements necessary to ensure that consumers are not adversely affected by this proposal (for example, in circumstances where gambling account holders are already using someone else’s payment details to fund that account). (Q17)
  3. For licensees: What barriers might licensees face in meeting the proposed requirement to verify that an account holder’s identity details match the payment method they use? What changes might they might need to make to their systems or contracts with thirds parties to be able to verify such information? (Q18)

Questions on customer identity verification – proposed new licence condition – remote lotteries and identity verification

  • Do you agree that the proposed condition on customer identity verification should apply to online lotteries (other than subscription and low frequency lotteries)? (Q19)

Questions on customer identity verification – proposed new licence condition – other questions for licensees

  1. For licensees: If possible provide an estimate of the costs that might be incurred by your business through implementing the proposed condition. Such costs might include, for example, technological changes (including software development and associated staff time), familiarisation costs in terms of staff training, or other business impact costs. Please also provide details of one-off costs and any annual or ongoing costs from the proposals. (Q20)
  2. For licensees: How long a lead-in time would your business need to implement technical developments in order to deliver the requirements of the proposed condition? (Q21)
  3. For licensees: Specifically, how long might it take you to implement any necessary changes to your systems to ensure that you can verify whether an account holder’s identity details match the payment method they use? (Q22)

Any other comments

  • Do you have any other views that you think the Commission should take account of as part of this consultation, and which are not covered specifically by any of the consultation questions previously? (Q23)

Questions on mandatory account limits 

  1. What are licensees able to do to ensure they know enough about a new customer to assist them in preventing that customer from experiencing gambling-related harm? (Q24)
  2. What types of information are you able to access that could help inform you as to how much a new customer might be able to afford to gamble? (Q25)
  3. How do you try to get to know a customer’s gambling preferences from a commercial perspective (for example, the markets they like to bet on, what days of the week they like to bet, whether they participate in betting and gaming) and can this information assist you in assessing the risk of the customer experiencing harm? (Q26)
  4. What information from your customer retention strategies could help to inform you about individual customers? (Q27)
  5. What behavioural risk indicators or markers of harm are present or could be detected very early on in a relationship with a new customer; and which might inform the basis of account limits to prevent harm? For example:
    • failed deposit at first attempt since registration
    • use of high interest credit cards
    • choice and number of payment methods at account opening
    • bonus requests
    • void requests
    • patterns of deposit or loss in the first few weeks of relationship
    • deposit and loss levels in the first few days after registration. (Q28)
  6. What elements of relevant research or industry good practice (for example, the RGA Behavioural Analytics Good Practice) have you implemented, and what are you finding most effective? (Q29)
  7. Have you conducted any research among your own customer base? (Q30)
  8. Did the research generate any information that could inform your harm prevention strategies? (Q31)
  9. Are there opportunities to collaborate with other licensees to run harm prevention-focussed research among your respective customer bases? (Q32)
  10. What information have you already acquired from the application of any limits on your customers’ accounts? (Q33)
  11. What information have you gathered from your enforcement of these limits as part of your customer interaction processes? (34)
  12. Do you consider socio-demographic or economic data, that is not specific to the customer’s identity, but which could help to inform an assessment of what they might be able to afford to gamble? (eg postcode deprivation indices) (Q35)
  13. And could these be used to inform limit setting? (Q36)
  14. Do you verify any economic information specific to the customer (eg credit scoring data, employment history or indicators of income and expenditure) as part of your risks assessment? (Q37)
  15. Do you monitor the use of gambling management tools from the outset of the relationship, and what do these tell you about the customer? (Q38)

The Commission’s online survey itself can be accessed here. The deadline for responses is 27 November 2018.