18+ (21+ in U.S.) - Terms and conditions apply. Sponsored content.
Betting in the UK
Betting online is regulated by the Gambling Act of 2005 and this document put the current licensing scheme into place, while also establishing the main governing body, the Gambling Commission.
The law has since been appended and amended with various clarifications and guidelines to keep up with the rapidly changing times and technologies, but the three fundamental principles from the original document are still guiding new rules and regulation. They state, and we paraphrase, that the licensing system should;
- prevent gambling from being used to support crime or disorder
- ensure gambling is conducted in a fair way
- protect children and vulnerable persons from being harmed by gambling
These three points of concern can be connected to two practical aspects that shapes todays UK betting climate to a large extent.
‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) – A prerequisite to play at betting sites in the UK
Verifying your identity is done both to keep minors out of an operator’s betting system, but also in order to prevent money laundering. For the latter, the betting site can request documents validating a Player’s ‘Source of Funds’ and/or ‘Source of Wealth’. In rare cases one can also be subjected to what is known as ‘Enhanced Due Diligence’ to further corroborate someone’s life story. But the standard KYC-procedure, which will apply to most is rather simple. It includes validating that you is who you say you are and that you live in the UK.
Betfair has a good guide on the subject of KYC
Prepare yourself by having the following ready when visiting a UK betting site for the first time to make the KYC-process a walk in the park:
- A copy of a valid photo ID
- A utility bill or similar not older than 3 months, addressed to you
The above items can be sent by regular post but sending it digitally is significantly faster. Taking a picture with your phone is probably the easiest way, but a scanned copy of the above documents will work just as well.
A tip to avoid these scans getting into the wrong hands is to print out a small note saying something like: “For use by insert-name-of-bookmaker-here only” accompanied by the date. Place that on your id, making sure it doesn’t cover any vital information, and take a picture with your phone. Put the same note on the utility bill and repeat.
Clear Communication defines the Best Betting Sites Online
The question ‘how to ensure fair rules when betting while also protecting minors and vulnerable persons?’ can be answered by: clear and honest communications. This applies to both how products are presented and marketing material. Three points sums this up rather well:
- Chances of winning shouldn’t be exaggerated
- It is not allowed to state that something is ‘free’ and ‘without risk’ when it comes with strings attached
- It is prohibited to package a product in ways that attract minors
These guidelines, which the Gambling Commission in recent years also have been good at enforcing, has put pressure on all the right places from a consumer viewpoint. It has not completely eliminated hard to understand terms and conditions - designed to ensnare customers - but at the legit bookmakers it has created a much appreciated betting environment, free of hidden fees and unwarranted lock-in mechanisms.