What is KYC? Why do I need to send in documents to verify myself?
With the recent introduction of EU legislation on anti-money laundering, all online casinos must perform due diligence on their customers also known as KYC (Know Your Customer). What this means is that they need to know exactly who their customers are and obtain proof that they own their gambling accounts.
As with any regulation, there is impact on the end user – you. It is also the case that most casinos do not take the time to explain this area properly, leading to frustration and it’s probably the reason why you googled “why do casinos need my documents” and ended up on this article!
We will now explain why this process is necessary, what is usually needed and how it is executed.
Why do they need my documents?
As we referenced earlier, the request for this documentation comes from regulations that the online casinos are obliged to comply with. Gambling is deemed to be a high risk activity due to the perceived ease of being able to use this activity to turn dirty money into clean money (for a short video explainer on money laundering, click here), and therefore there are expectations that every customer that is placing bets is verified. The point at which you will be asked to provide documents for verification varies between operators and the country you are based in, but for the most part the documents should be requested shortly after you open your account, 30 days in most cases – and increasingly you will not be allowed to withdraw before you provide this material.
What do they need?
The minimal obligation on the casino is to prove that
- You are the owner of the account you just opened, and
- The money that you put into that account is yours
Therefore, the most common document requests are proof of identification (Passport, ID Card, Driver’s Licence) and address (Utility Bills, ID Cards & Driver’s Licences showing addresses), as well as documented proof showing that the payment method you used to deposit is yours. By payment method we mean payment options such as credit cards or bank transfers. It’s good to note that with advancements in technology today, through the card or bank transaction the casino gets the information of who is executing that payment, and so the request for this kind of documentation (such as copies of bank statements) from users such as yourself is getting less and less.
How do I verify myself?
This is where it gets interesting. Most reputable online casino have as a minimum feature a “document upload system”, which is a location on the site where you can upload the requested documentation. In this kind of system you can see what is requested and what format they allow the document to be in – most sites now allow you to take a photo directly from your mobile, which makes the process much smoother.
However, a lot of online casinos still request these documents to be sent in by email, usually to their customer support. If you feel uneasy doing this, one of the things you could do is copy your images into a Microsoft Word document and password protect it. When you are sending them this file, do not send the password with it, but get in touch with their customer support through chat or phone to give them the password there. This will make sure that your documents are being viewed only by the people meant to view them.
Online casinos are obliged to keep your documents on file for a number of years due to the same regulations create the obligation to ask you for them, and this supersedes most privacy regulation due to the sensitive nature of the request (to prevent crime and money laundering).
Onto the last and most interesting part – how long do online casinos take to verify your documents? Again, this differs greatly from one casino to the others with some taking a couple of minutes to perform this action and some taking a few days. There are high volumes of people having to send in documents to online casinos, and the average waiting time for these to be processed is usually between 24-72 hours, so keep that in mind if you have not yet verified your account and wish to withdraw some cash from your winnings!
Bonus Tip – 1 in every 3 attempts to verify customers through documents such as the ones mentioned above are rejected. Why? It is down to 2 main reasons, namely the documents not being recent enough (in some cases even expired) or the quality of the documents not allowing key information to be read.
Do yourself a favour and make sure you are using documents that are less than 6 months old, and have all areas of the image visible and easily readable. Will save you some frustration when you are waiting for your win to be cashed out, and a few contacts with customer service.
We hope you found this article useful. Like and follow us if you want to learn more about the behind the scenes makings that go into the recent casino regulatory changes.