When a site you have never visited before tells you they need to see a scan of your passport or drivers license it can understandably set alarm bells ringing. This isn’t something that happens every day, right?
When they ask for your bank details and a scan of your bank card as well you would be forgiven for reporting the site as a scam.
But when it comes to online gambling, this is not only normal but a legal requirement on their part, so far from being a concern, these checks are actually in place for everyone’s protection. Let us explain it to you.
Why Do They Need My Identification Documents?
Bingo is a form of online gaming that uses real money, it therefore falls under the umbrella of ‘gambling’ and so any site offering online bingo must ensure all players are over the age of 18 and not using the site for money laundering purposes. This process is a legal necessity for gaming sites to go through, the onus is on them to prove their customers are above board, so the checks are aimed at providing a safer gambling environment for you to play in.
It all comes down to the Gambling Act 2005, set out in detail by the UK Gambling Commission. The Act is designed to protect minors and other vulnerable groups, to drive an open and honest gambling and gaming industry, and ultimately to prevent these sites from being used to launder money and promote crime.
The Act requires all companies to perform an identification check to confirm you are who you say you are and to ensure that you are legally allowed to use their products, this is often referred to as a KYC (Know Your Customer) check.
Please don’t worry, this is standard procedure in the UK and nothing to be alarmed about.
What Information Is Required to Pass KYC
In some cases it is enough to provide just your name, address, and a bank card to pass the KYC checks. If your bank card is registered at the same address you sign up to the bingo site with then often the provider can use this to check your details using the electoral roll and soft credit check. A soft credit check allows the bingo site to check your identity but they cannot see your finances or credit information. Your credit score will not be affected by a soft credit check either, so do not worry if you sign up to several sites.
If you are not registered on the electoral roll or you sign up using a different address you will likely be asked to send in further identification documents like:
- Drivers Licence
- Bank Statement
- Utility Bill
- Front and Back of Bank Card
You may even be selected at random for further identity checks even if you meet all of the above criteria. This is simply bad luck but at the end of the day the system is there to protect you and them from unscrupulous characters.
If you hit a certain financial threshold you might even have to prove your source of income. This is an additional money laundering and responsible gambling check triggered by frequent or high value transactions. Again this is there to comply with the law so don’t take it personally, and you should only have to go through it once if at all.
When & How Should I Send the Documents?
If you are asked for any of this information you can send it whenever you want. They’ll still accept it regardless of whether you forward it on right after signing up or a month later. You will, however, be prevented from making large deposits or making withdrawals before you complete the process.
All sites should allow you to upload photographs or scans of these documents, and you usually don’t even need to talk to a support agent in order to do it. It’s often built into their interface at some point.
You can send copies of your documents in the post if you would prefer, but this obviously takes a lot longer and you can rest assured that completing the process online is perfectly safe.
With regards to the bank card, the site will instruct you on which bits to make visible and which areas to cover up. For example, the CVV code should be hidden from view.
To avoid any delays ensure that every document is visible in full with no blurring or shadows making any of the information difficult to read. It can be quite a strict procedure so if anything isn;t clear you may be rejected and have to send the info again.