KYC verification is a mandatory process at all legitimately licensed fast withdrawal casinos in the UK. The process involves providing the gambling site with certain documents that act as proof of your age, identity, and address among other things.
Some players are taken by surprise and find the verification process cumbersome while other players are well aware of its necessity. In this article, we will answer what exactly KYC is, why it is needed, and how it works at UKGC online casinos with fast withdrawals to clear any doubt you may have about it.
What Is KYC?
KYC stands for ‘Know Your Customer.’ It’s a procedure used by businesses to establish a thorough understanding of their customers to prevent fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities.
In the context of online gambling, KYC is a requirement set by regulatory bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission, which mandates that all licensed online casinos collect specific data of their players to screen them for the following:
- Underage gambling
- Anti-money laundering (AML)
- Terrorist activities
- Suspicious gambling patterns
- Bonus abuse
The UKGC states that licensed casinos must verify the age and identity of every new signee before letting them stake money. This is regardless of whether they are a fast withdrawal casino or otherwise. The same might not be true with casinos that are licensed in other jurisdictions.
What Is the Process of KYC Like at UKGC-Licensed Fast Withdrawal Casinos?
The UKGC has not provided specific guidelines on how licensed online casinos should conduct their KYC. Nonetheless, most fast withdrawal casinos begin the process in the following two stages as soon as you attempt to sign up and before you can make your first deposit:
Stage 1: Identifying the Player
The first step of player identification will start when you head to register with the casino. Here’s what you can expect:
- Step 1: Enter your email and acknowledge that you’re 18 years of age or up.
- Step 2: Fill out the registration form with the following details:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Mobile number
- Country of residence (UK)
- Your full address
- Step 3: Activate your casino account if needed by using the link emailed to you or sent to you by text.
Once you’ve completed these steps for registration, you will be taken to the next stage of KYC.
Stage 2: Verifying the Claimed Identity and Age
At this stage, two things are likely to happen:
Automated Electronic Verification
All UKGC-licensed casinos with fast withdrawals will carry out an electronic verification of every new signee using third-party companies. The process is entirely automated and you are not required to do anything. In fact, you may not even realise it was conducted. Electronic verification is meant to minimise disruptions during the onboarding of new players.
The account information you provided during identification is matched with information stored in private as well as public databases, including the electoral roll and Credit Referencing Agencies. Some casinos also approach third parties in the regulated sectors such as banks to establish player legitimacy.
Casinos will immediately initiate manual verification with documents that prove your identity and address if the electronic verification fails. However, even if it is successful, the casino would ask for these documents. They wouldn’t be necessary in order to play, but normally necessary to have your first withdrawal request approved.
Manual Verification Using Documents
A fast withdrawal casino can ask to manually verify your personal identity, age and address with legit documents in any of the following ways:
- By asking you to upload the supporting documents directly on the casino’s website.
- By asking you to email the documents.
- By using a third party to carry out the uploading of documents.
Which Documents Are Commonly Required for KYC Verification?
The most common document types required for verification are as follows:
These must normally be provided in order to have your first withdrawal request approved.
Documents Commonly Accepted as Proof of Age and Identity
- Driving license
Most casinos with fast withdrawals will require photocopies where all four corners of the uploaded document are visible. Also, most casinos will not accept the paper counterpart of your driving licence.
Please note that the UKGC doesn’t offer specific guidelines on what type of information a casino must request as proof of identity and age. Therefore, a fast withdrawal casino may also accept the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- National Identity Card
- Residence Permit
- PASS Card
- Marriage certificate
- Civil partnership certificate
- Enrolled deed poll
- Decree absolute
Some of these documents might be necessary only under rare circumstances. For instance, if your last name would be different on your casino account due to recent marriage and name change, a marriage certificate would likely be requested.
As a player, you are responsible for ensuring that the information you are furnishing is correct and that the documents you upload are clear.
Documents Commonly Accepted as Proof of Address
- Household utility bill (gas, water, electric, or council tax)
- Bank statement
- Tenancy agreement
Your utility bill and bank statement must be in your name and not be older than 3 months. Both these documents must be received at the address which you used to register at the casino and must clearly show your address and the logo of the company that issued it.
If you submit a copy of your tenancy agreement, ensure you include the signatures page and terms of the tenancy. Most casinos will accept a photo, PDF copy or e-bill/statement of the documents mentioned above.
However, it is your responsibility to make sure the information you are sending is correct and the document you are uploading as proof of address is clear. Yet again, all four corners must be visible.
When you are uploading verifying documents on a casino’s website, there will almost always be a limit on the size and number of documents you can upload. Make sure your documents are within the specified limits.
What Other Ways of Verification May Be Necessary?
Apart from proof of age, identity, and address, UKGC casinos with quick withdrawals might also request the following to verify you:
Source of Funds
At all UKGC-licensed casinos, including fast withdrawal casinos, the source of funds is a common verification document, which you must provide at some point.
The purpose of this document is to establish that you are gambling responsibly within your budget and that your funds were legally obtained. The casinos may contact you directly or approach a third party to collect the following information:
- Bank statements not older than 3 months (done as a part of anti-money laundering checks to ensure the source of money is legit)
- Income patterns (done to analyse irregular income patterns, which may indicate a lack of funds to bet). Your income pattern can be analysed using any of the following:
- Payslips not older than 3 months (most common)
- P60 (tax returns)
- Company accounts
- Shareholder dividend statements
- Evidence of inheritance
- Evidence of rental income
- Evidence of winnings from another operator
- Evidence of sale of assets
A UKGC casino might also use open-source data and publications from the Office of National Statistics in order to assess your affordability as a player and minimise the risks of money laundering. Based on this data and your income, the casino would then set deposit or loss limits.
Fast withdrawal casinos might ask players to confirm their photo ID with a selfie in case the initial electronic verification fails or suspicious activity has been detected on the account. If so, it will ask for a photograph of you holding your passport, driving license or national identity card for facial verification.
If you don’t feel comfortable regarding the type of information requested, you should contact the casino. However, it is unlikely that they can do anything about it.
UKGC casinos request a selfie especially if they suspect any fraudulent activity on the account. This is particularly necessary when there is a possibility of identity theft, where someone is registering and using an account under someone else’s name.
However, casinos should not ask for a selfie during withdrawal if they could have requested it earlier. Nevertheless, they may be required by law to request the information at any stage.
Proof of Payment
In addition to ID and proof of address, online casinos with quick payouts may also ask you to provide proof of your payment method.
For instance, if you deposit using a Visa card, they may ask you to send a photocopy of the front and back of this card, with certain numbers covered for security reasons. If you deposit with PayPal, they may ask for a screenshot from your PayPal account.
This is done to ensure you are the real owner of the payment account you are using.
Why Is Age Verification at Entry a Must at UKGC Casinos?
All UKGC casinos, fast paying or not, must verify the age of all new signees. This is done to keep underage gambling at bay.
The current rule of age verification replaced an older one where UKGC casino operators had 72 hours to verify the age of new players. Of course, casinos couldn't release withdrawals before age-verifying their players. Neither could they keep any money staked by minors.
However, the problem with the 72-hour window was that minors could access the casino and play games. With the current rule in place, any kind of gambling activity, whatsoever, is prohibited prior to age verification as part of every UKGC casino’s social responsibility code.
This includes funding a player’s account as well as gambling with any free bonus that new players might be able to claim. The rule is true even for free-to-play games.
It is not possible to play any demo version of a slot machine or other casino game without being age verified. The UKGC opines that there is no good reason for children to have access to any such game.
What Does a UKGC Casino Do Upon Detecting Underage Gambling?
A UKGC casino should nip any instance of underage gambling in the bud with its age verification procedure. In the event that a minor succeeded in bypassing the system and staking money, the casino must cancel all bets and refund the money.
Also, it is not obliged to pay winnings won by a minor. However, the entire episode might bring the casino under the UKGC’s radar as a non-compliant business entity.
What Are the Purposes of Furnishing an ID?
Furnishing an ID at a fast withdrawal casino helps the operator confirm the following:
- Whether you meet the legal age for gambling.
- Whether you are who you claim to be.
- Whether you have opted for self-exclusion.
Based on this information, the casino can decide whether to let you gamble or not. This is part of their security processes, which are meant to protect both players and the operator from things such as fraud and financial harm.
Why Aren’t Verification Documents Requested Just When You’re Signing Up?
Fast withdrawal casinos don’t want to scare you away by asking for documents just when you’re signing up.
As already mentioned, every fast paying casino licensed by the UKGC must perform the ID checks of every signee prior to establishing a business relationship or letting the player make their first deposit.
But imagine a casino asking you to upload verification documents right when they sign up. The process can easily become cumbersome so much so that you might get bored, distracted, overwhelmed, and even demotivated to play.
To address this issue, the UKGC has come up with a solution by stating that casinos can also do the identity verification while establishing a business relationship but, under the following conditions:
- Taking this action is necessary so the regular course of business is not disrupted.
- The risk of money laundering or terrorism funding is very low.
The first point is especially important. Every casino can use it as a strong argument to not ask for documents during sign-up as it might make the onboarding process complicated. However, they must still carry out the mandatory verification before you can gamble.
To escape the sticky situation, UKGC fast paying casinos rely on electronic verifications, which help them identify a player. If it goes through, you can deposit and play right away. Your ID check will be done with verifying documents at a later stage (typically when you request your first withdrawal).
How Long Does Verification Take at Fast Withdrawal Casinos?
The overall duration for completing ID checks at fast withdrawal casinos varies from one casino operator to the next. The UKGC has no control over it.
Electronic verifications on sign-up are automated and almost always instantaneous. Most of the time, you wouldn’t even know you were electronically verified unless the verification itself fails, consequently requiring you to submit documents.
Now, it may take a tad longer if you must submit documents and the time for it will vary from one casino to another. Nonetheless, document verification under 48 hours is the norm. Also, UKGC casinos with fast withdrawal will generally aim to quickly verify your identity so you can start gambling without any delay and receive your payouts fast.
How Does a Casino With Pay n Play Conduct KYC?
A fast withdrawal casino that uses Pay n Play through Trustly, the open-banking solution, does not need to conduct KYC the traditional way. The necessary information for verification is obtained automatically as Trustly extracts a player’s identity and financial data right from their bank account to meet its own KYC requirements.
Is Proof of Identity a Necessity for Withdrawing Money at Fast Withdrawal Casinos?
Regardless of its licensing, almost all casino sites with fast withdrawals will ask for proof of ID and address at some point (usually during your first withdrawal request). Before it is successfully submitted, withdrawals will not be processed.
The same is true for UKGC-licensed casinos even though the UKGC says that online casinos should not request identity verification from you just at the time of cash withdrawal if they had the opportunity to collect this information prior to your first deposit (source).
Nonetheless, casinos will do it to fulfill their legal responsibilities toward preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. That’s their way of saying better safe than sorry. A classic scenario is when the initial electronic verification was successful, but the casino is not reasonably satisfied that you are who you claim to be.
This is a common occurrence and why many casinos with fast withdrawals will ask you to provide proof of identity and address. But even then, the casino must request this information without delay.
In practicality, casinos usually do so via text and notifications on their website. However, many players either don’t notice this or disregard it. They are then reminded when making a withdrawal. Until the documents have been received, a withdrawal request would normally not be processed.
Does KYC Delay the Withdrawal Time?
While it is possible to be proactive and send verification documents in advance, most players don’t. When documents are required by the casino, the casino will not process any pending withdrawals by players until the documents have been provided. Therefore, the verification process will slow down withdrawals at some point for most players.
- If electronic verification was successful and no document was asked before you made your first deposit, you are still likely to be required to provide proof of identity and address when you cash out. In this case, the process of KYC will keep your withdrawal on hold until it is successfully done.
- If electronic verification was successful and you furnished proof of identity and address as well, withdrawal might still be delayed if the casino asks for your source of funds or other documents when you cash out.
Luckily, KYC verification at fast withdrawal casinos tends to be quick.
Are Demo Games Available for Play Without a Verified Casino Account?
At fast withdrawal casinos that aren’t licensed by the UKGC, it is normally possible to play demo games before going through any kind of verification. Many gambling sites don’t even require you to register an account in order to play them.
However, the UKGC mandates that all licensed online gambling operators verify the age of their players before granting them access to any game on their websites, including free-to-play games.
This means that even if you are legally old enough to gamble but have not completed the age verification process (electronic or not), you will not be able to access any game, regardless of whether it is in real money or demo mode.
Can UK Gamblers Bypass KYC Verification?
A number of players in the UK do not feel safe disclosing their personal and confidential data to online casinos. They fear that their information might be sold to third parties or compromised by hackers and identity thieves.
In a bid to skip the KYC process altogether, some players approach fast withdrawal casinos that aren’t licensed by the UKGC, which doesn’t warrant verification upon registration. Needless to say, they come with additional risk and verification is still likely to occur.
Almost all online casinos will ask for ID and proof of address upon cashout even if they are licensed in other jurisdictions. Without the oversight of the UKGC, which ensures player protection, the casino may also be rogue and end up stealing your money (especially true if not licensed at all or licensed in Curacao).
Some casinos do allow celebrities and famous people to skip the usual identification process though. Simply because they are well-known and their information is easy to find.
Their identification isn’t an issue and their verification might not be a problem, too, due to the easy availability of open-source data and public knowledge, which can be treated as information from reliable and independent sources.
Despite this, the casinos still need to keep records of their visit and how their identity was checked. Even though these are special cases, the casinos must be reasonably sure that the person is who they say they are, and keep good records of everything.
Is KYC Different From CDD?
CDD stands for Customer Due Diligence, which is a must for players at UKGC-licensed fast withdrawal casinos who…
- Exceed the threshold of £2,000 in a single transaction or multiple transactions that are interlinked.
- Opt for self-exclusion on individual casinos or via GamStop.
- Are politically exposed people and hence, prone to risk.
KYC is part of CDD, while the latter is the bigger picture. As per the UKGC, a fast withdrawal casino should undertake CDD measures if:
- You have established a business relationship (performed a transaction).
- Money laundering or terrorist funding is suspected.
- The authenticity of documents furnished for identification and verification is doubtful.
- The adequacy of documents furnished for identification and verification is not enough.
- You carry out occasional transactions that exceed £1,000.
CDD comprises the following:
- Identifying you unless your identity is already known by the casino.
- Verifying you unless your identity is already verified by the casino.
- Identifying and verifying a beneficial owner who isn’t you.
- Obtaining and assessing information on the purpose of your account, transaction or business relationship with the casino.
Additionally, UKGC casinos must keep an eye on their relationship with customers over time, not just at the start. This means checking on the transactions you make and making sure they match what the casino knows about you.
The casinos also need to update their records and information regularly. This ongoing monitoring should be performed based on the level of risk involved. If you are someone who plays regularly, the casino should watch you more closely and collect more information about your money.
Furthermore, casinos must perform enhanced CDD in cases where there is a high risk of money laundering or terrorist financing, including cases where a customer is a politically exposed person (PEP), has provided false or stolen identification, or when the transaction is complex, unusually large, or has no apparent economic or legal purpose.
What Does the UKGC Have to Say About KYC?
The UKGC is one of the strictest regulatory bodies for online casinos. Their purpose is to:
- Keep crime out of gambling.
- Make sure gambling is conducted fairly and transparently.
- Protect vulnerable people from gambling-related harm.
To make this happen, they undertake stringent measures for player protection such as mandatory age verification on signup, which isn’t a requirement in other casinos, whether or not they enable fast withdrawal.
The Gambling Commission also mandates that casinos ask players to furnish KYC documents at the earliest. In its Licence Condition 17, the UKGC specifies the following as minimum requirements for player identity verification which every online casino operator licensed by them must abide by:
- Casino operators are obligated to verify your identity prior to allowing you to gamble by obtaining and validating relevant information, including, but not limited to the following:
- Date of birth
- According to the UKGC, here’s a good practice for requesting evidence:
- Requesting one document from an authoritative source to verify your full name and address or full name and date of birth.
- Requesting another document to verify your full name and address or date of birth, which was not checked in the previous document.
- If you request a withdrawal, casinos should not ask for additional information if they could have reasonably requested the same earlier.
However, this stipulation is not non-negotiable in the sense that it does not prevent operators from obtaining information that they must have at the time due to other legal requirements.
- Online casinos should notify you about the following prior to letting you make your first deposit:
- Types of identity documents or other information required.
- The situations in which this information may be required.
- The manner in which it should be presented.
- Online casinos must take reasonable steps to ensure that the identity information they hold from you is up-to-date and accurate. This means they can ask you to furnish relevant proof of ID, proof of address, or other documents and information from time to time.
The UKGC understands that it's difficult to be 100% sure if a customer is really who they say they are, even if documents or technology are used to check. Even then, casinos should still try to make sure their players are telling the truth with an appropriate inquiry.
Even if information about a player’s identity has been obtained from employees within the same casino group, an operator still needs to verify it independently, especially if the confirmation comes from a company located in a different jurisdiction.
Also, apart from identity and age verification, the UKGC urges casinos to get information about a player's source of funds and occupation at some point in time (usually early in the player’s journey). This information can be helpful in ascertaining if the player is gambling within their means or if their gambling activity is suspicious.
Are the UKGC’s KYC Requirements Any Different Between Traditional Casinos and Fast Withdrawal Casinos?
The basic process of KYC is the same at all UKGC casinos regardless of whether they enable fast withdrawals or take time to pay out.
Electronic verification is done on signup and if it fails, ID and proof of address will be requested. When withdrawing, ID and proof of address are likely to be asked if not already provided, whereas a source of funds will be requested at some point as well.
How Do KYC Requirements at Fast Withdrawal Casinos Differ Between UKGC-Licensed and Non-UKGC-Licensed Sites?
The table below highlights the main differences between the KYC requirements of fast withdrawal casinos that are licensed by the UKGC and those that aren’t.
With those that aren’t, we mainly refer to fast withdrawal casinos that are either unlicensed or licensed in Curacao, which are the two most common alternatives UK players choose.
|Aspects||UKGC Casinos||Non-UKGC Casinos|
|Electronic verification on sign up||Done using independent credit reference agencies (private and public)||Not a necessity|
|Age verification||Prior to depositing money||No hard and fast rule regarding the timing|
|Identity verification||Prior to or during depositing money under certain conditions||No hard and fast rule regarding the timing|
|Source of funds||Always requested at some point||Rarely or never a requirement|
|KYC during withdrawal||Not necessary if proof of age, ID and address already provided during sing up, otherwise necessary||Almost always done|
|Access to demo games||Not possible without KYC||Possible without KYC|
|Withdrawal time||May or may not be delayed due to KYC||May or may not be delayed due to KYC|
What If You’re Unhappy With a Fast Withdrawal Casino’s KYC Process?
If you are unhappy with the KYC process at a UKGC-licensed fast withdrawal casino, you can contact the casino directly using their complaints process. Check the terms and conditions linked to your account or transaction, and provide dates, times, and evidence of the issue.
Wait up to 8 weeks for a response, and if you are still not satisfied, you may be able to escalate your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider. You must go through the online casino’s complaints process before using an ADR. Some businesses use Resolver, an independent online tool, but not all do.
Is It Safe to Play at Fast Withdrawal Casinos That Don’t Have Immediate Verification Checks?
Most online casinos, whether fast paying or not, will still have some form of KYC procedure in place to be legally compliant even if they don’t have UKGC’s immediate verification checks. However, they won’t be answerable to the UKGC if there is a breach and the players suffer.
The exception is if the casino isn’t licensed at all. Such casinos would operate illegally and may or may not do verification checks. A casino like this would not be safe to play at as they have no oversight or regulation, which puts players at high risk with no protection.
To gamble safely as a UK resident and within a fairer environment, always choose UKGC casinos.