By: Peter Murray, Director of Alexem Services
The new regulatory regime may not be live until 2021 (it will be a two stage process) but in order to be in a position to apply and obtain a licence the KSA is mandating your processes for age verification are in place or updated by January 2020. So as we write you have 11 days to comply. No pressure there then!
The KSA attended the recent GiH event in Amsterdam and René Jansen was centre of attention for the large and very attentive audience as he outlined, as much as he could, the key points of the upcoming regulation. The central point centred around identity with the governments focus being on ensuring that the scandal that hit the sector earlier this year could not be repeated. Preventing any under age player from accessing a gambling site is the first priority. With that in mind the operators in the room were keen to find out what wriggle room they had as they rush to adapt to these changes with the systems they currently have.
The answer was that there is no flexibility. If your systems do not allow you to prevent people under age from playing then you should not expect your licence process to be successful.
So with that clarity the focus moved on to what operators need to comply. The Identity workshop featuring W2Global data, CDDN and JanusID, covered what was available and how it could be adapted quickly. Other questions from the day included:
‘Is the regulator mandating iDIN’ ...No.
‘Could they still use their current electronic ID provider’ Yes (provided they could prove age) and ‘Would it have to be document only’ ...No.
The questions were many and varied so if it helps then below are a few points of guidance to provide support with the KSA guidelines and help safeguard regulatory compliance should you choose to apply for a licence in the Netherlands.
1. Verification by January 1st 2020
All players currently playing should be age verified to a compliant level. This means they must be identified and age verified to be 18 and over. Minors should henceforth be locked out and be unable to participate in gambling.
2. Age verified
This means that the player/customer has to be identified and have an EXACT date of birth match that proves they are over 18. The check must be watertight, clear to the registrar how it is done and verifiable to the regulator.
Systems deemed acceptable are not prescribed but include electronic identity checks. Whichever system you use the verification must be objective, watertight and verifiable.
3. Existing customers already age verified
Provided that the systems employed meet the points above then no further action needs to be taken and they can continue to play on the site.
4. Verification Providers
There is no recommended provider for this service. Whilst iDIN has been mentioned and used for one high profile brand the Dutch government wants a ‘competitive’ verification market and will leave the choice of provider up to the individual operator and or consumer. Any solution must be robust and reliable and you must ensure that you are confident that the methods, data sources and technology employed are fit for purpose. The process must be visible to the customer and provide a transparent audit trail that the regulator can access upon request.
You can continue to use your current provider should you be confident that they deliver this criteria.
5. Point of verification: Registration or deposit?
The recent letter of the minister and the KSA repeats that age verification should take place before the registration process is completed. So if you allow a player to register and complete that process, you should actively and visibly block use of the account until the age has been verified The new rule in principal seeks to prevent underaged participation in online gambling and this included the point of registration.
Verification at the point of registration will be required by January 1st 2020.
6. New customers after January 1st 2020
All customers registering after January 1st 2020 should be age verified to a compliant level.
7. Existing customers registered before January 1st 2020
Existing customer must be over 18, so a check on the current database is advised. Operators can continue to passively serve Dutch consumers without risking their eligibility for a licence when the market opens, as long as they are seen to comply with the (now expanded with age verification) age criteria
8. If not verified by January 1st
The advice is to block or freeze the account until age is verified.
9. Free to play
With the Government focus being on preventing minors from playing casino or roulette the advice is that you prevent all participation including free play.
10. Engagement with existing players who have not been age verified
You can engage with existing customers in order to complete verification process long as you do not let the player participate until he has verified his legal age and we are aware of various marketing methods and bonuses offered in an attempt to get existing players to provide adequate information in order to achieve age verification.
11. ‘objective means of proof’
There has been some conjecture and understandable confusion as to what would be accepted as objective means of proof or that verification should rely on either iDIN or documents or both. This is not the case. The key driver for the government and therefore the KSA, is to ensure that under age players cannot get onto a gambling site. They want to guarantee that processes are in place, checks are done and that the ability to simply tick of a box to state you are over 18 is removed.
Secondly the Government has stated that it wants to see a competitive verification market and as such no one provider or solution will be mandated. Electronic systems for identity and documents can be used and as long as they are visible for the customer and auditable should the regulator want to access them then the operator is free to choose on the basis of the confidence and reliability of the systems employed.
In short: timescales are tight and delay could be terminal so get your verifications in order.
Have a great Christmas everyone.