Since the dawn of mankind gambling has been linked to our history. It dates even before written history. And so whenever groups of our ancestors met there was a high probability that they gambled.  Ancient Greeks played dice, in China they played cards and poker dates back to the 17th century and so did the casinos. People start gambling mostly for fun, in hopes of winning some money. But after all it is a gamble and when they lose they keep playing hoping they’ll win again and that is what starts the cycle that leads to an addiction.

According to the Statista report, in mid-2020, the market size of the global gambling industry reached a total of 227 billion U.S. dollars. However due to the Covid outbreak the traditional casinos have lost their clients, since they were forced to close. So the players have turned to a growing branch of the industry- online gambling. According to research the global online gambling market was valued at USD 53.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow. With such a large money flow in the industry it is important to comply with Anti-Money Laundering regulations on the same level as the financial institutions do.

Know Your Customer

Depending on the types of games such as online casinos or simply a gambling apps there are different levels of restrictions that need to be met. What is mandatory for any online casino is a KYC procedure, which is a part of the AML regulations. KYC stands for Know Your Customer and the procedure is used to make sure that the user is who he says he is. It helps not only to detect any unwanted users like mule accounts or excluded players, but also to verify the age of potential players and sort out gambling addicts that have been banned but try to create another account. Furthermore as the players in online casinos come from different countries the information gathered during the KYC process helps to stop international money laundering and fraud. During the verification process the player might be asked to provide a proof of address document that will confirm his location, so that the gambling operators know that he is not from a high risk country. 

Online gambling

Online gambling is any gambling that is conducted on the Internet. It is considered to be a quick option to win money with no effort at all. This includes poker, virtual casinos, gambling apps and even sports betting and lotteries. Due to the pandemic online gambling revenues rose from US$58.9 billion in 2019 to US$66.7 billion in 2020. In traditional casinos they exchanged fiat money for chips on site, but in online casinos there are many forms of adding balance to the players account. It can be done by a transfer, a credit card or even cryptocurrencies. When it comes to fraud the biggest threat is a user who creates multiple accounts. All of those accounts enter into a game and everyone except one play to lose so the cheater always comes out on top. Another example of fraud that online casinos deal with is age fraud.

Age verification

According to research, 37% of 11-16 year olds in England and Scotland have gambled in the last 12 months. They may steal their parents ID’s and use them to sneak pass the verification process. That is why it is so important to have a secure verification process, like video verification, that eliminates that kind of fraud. Fully-Verified offers a remote verification service that is based on a video connection, the customer can verify themself from any place in the world at any time. Our process is compliant with the strictest restrictions and it eliminates the problem of people using fake or stolen IDs.

Laws in different countries

What is worth knowing is that the online casinos are subject to laws not only of the country where they are registered but also to the country of their user. So the casinos need to comply with different laws worldwide. 

In Germany in 2008 it was illegal to gamble online except for horse racing. But due to the fact that such strict law was violating EU rules they liberalised their law. In 2012 they passed a Treaty on Gambling with intention to regulate the sports betting, however no license was issued since it was passed. New treaty was signed, the State Treaty on Gambling, which is expected to come into force from July 2021 and will lift the ban on gambling. First licences were already issued, but gambling providers are not protected from criminal or civil liability, because of that some players have won back their losses in court claiming that the contract between them was unlawful.

In the United States financial institutions are obliged to help the government prevent money laundering by identifying, and reporting suspicious activities and transactions. According to the Bank Secrecy Act financial institutions including gambling providers need to file reports of cash transactions exceeding 10 thousand dollars and Suspicious Activity Reports if one player deposits more than $10,000 in cash. The users need to provide their legal name, social security number and proof of a permanent address such as a utility bill in order to take part in money transactions. When opening an account they only need to provide their identity information. The minimum age for gambling varies between 18 and 21, depending on the state. Not all forms of gambling are legal in every state, for example online poker is not legal in Oregon, Illinois, Virginia and some other states.

In the United Kingdom Gambling Commission controls all forms of gambling. It was established by the Gambling Act in 2005. The full KYC procedure is executed upon opening an account, not when undertaking money transactions. 

The Polish regulations regarding gambling are considered to be among the most strict in Europe. Online betting and lotteries are the only forms of online gambling currently allowed and the national lottery is exclusively entitled to offer them. Websites that do not hold a Polish online gambling license and accept polish players are blacklisted. Online poker is illegal in Poland.

Malta is one of the most popular locations for gambling sites to seek licensing. 10% of all of the gambling providers in the world are registered in Malta, but in order to do that the company needs to have a physical presence there. Players must be over 18 years of age to be able to play. The country was the first one to introduce gambling legislation. The authority that is responsible for issuing licenses is The Malta Gaming Authority. However recently the MGA has been tied to organised crime in Italy and charged with corruption allegations. 

Since 2009 it is illegal in Russia to gamble, only exceptions are five areas: Altai, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, Primorsky, Crimea and Sochi regions. Online gambling is banned in Russia. 

In China all gambling is banned except for the lottery. This has led to the creation of underground illegal gambling. However the country had announced an amnesty for involvement in illegal gambling operations. If the individual will come forth by the end of April they will avoid serious punishment.

Penalties

If casinos don’t comply with the current laws they face financial fines. In 2018 in the UK, gambling operators had to pay £19.6 million, mostly due to the fact that they did not have sufficient AML practices and protection processes for problem gamblers. One of them failed to discover or report signs of gambling problems among their players. They also allowed more than 10 players to deposit money linked to criminal activity. In the US, a gambling operator had to pay a $5 thousand penalty for a breach of self-exclusion rules and allowing banned players to gamble. 

Considering the fact that more and more of our life is connected to internet activity it is no surprise that so many industries try to take advantage of that situation and offer their services online. We need to protect ourselves and our personal information in the world wide web. Regulators will impose more strict laws and the companies should prepare themselves to comply with them. Even if the law does not require the most stringent regulations now, it is worth investing in them to be sure that your company will not face fines, because a fraudulent activity got passed the imposed procedures. Trust a specialist that will make sure that you will always comply with the KYC and AML regulations. At Fully-Verified, we will make sure to onboard your new players as smoothly as possible and eliminate any fraud attempts.


Image source: Freepik.com (1, 2, 3)

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