Problem gambling costs the UK up to £1.2bn a year, according to a recent report commissioned by charity GambleAware. Up to 1.1% of the adult population are believed to have a gambling problem, with added strain being placed on the social welfare system.
The Gambling Commission have three objectives the operators are expected to follow; crime should be kept out of gambling, it should be conducted in a fair and open way, children and other vulnerable people should be protected from harm or exploitation from gambling. In order to ensure that these objectives are met, operators are required to make identity checks on customers as part of their social responsibility and Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements.
Operators who fail to make the necessary checks are putting their license, and their business, at risk.
Problem gambling can result in a downward spiral that has far reaching consequences. Operators upholding their social responsibilities can help weed out customers who are using gambling as a money laundering device, for instance those that are in receipt of state benefits yet who seem to have a lot of disposable income to spend on gambling.
There have been a number of suggestions to restrict benefits claimants from spending their benefits on gambling and other vices, including the idea that benefits be paid onto a card which can only be used in certain places.
However, there are currently no restrictions on how benefits can be spent. And those who are in receipt of benefits may be considered more vulnerable to the effects of gambling than those in other areas of society.
ID checks for customers isn’t a choice, it is a legal requirement. Operators must be able to demonstrate that they have ensured that all customers are old enough, have not self-excluded (a register of people who have decided that they wish to stop gambling and wish to be supported in their decision to stop) or are not involved in illegal activity.
There are a number of anti-money laundering and fraud protection solutions available for operators who wish to protect themselves and their licenses from the threat of crime and fraud.