The updated operation rules seek to address certain gripes made by punters during last year’s forum, and to put an end to underage gambling.
To achieve this, operators will now be required to verify the age and supporting details of customers faster as punters will not be allowed to play until this has been done. Up until now, players have been able to deposit funds and play as soon as they have registered, and the companies have had up to 72 hours to verify the player's identity.
This has created an opening where underage players have 3 days in which to gamble, as do players who are trying to exercise their self-exclusion right. This restriction will also be applied to bonus funds and free play games.
In addition to the faster verifications, operators will also be required to change their withdrawal processes. Many punters complained that depositing funds is easy, but when it comes to withdrawing winnings the process is drawn out and overly complicated. As a result, operators must verify player’s names, addresses, and DOB’s at the sign-up stage and request any additional information as soon as possible. They will also be required to inform players at registration of any additional documentation that may be required to withdraw funds and how to submit them.
Finally, post verification, operators need to ensure that their player data is regularly updated and accurate.
The new regulations will come into effect in May this year, which gives companies time to implement the necessary changes.
This is only the latest move by the Commission to improve standards in the industry. Last year it issued a warning to operators regarding the use of non-disclosure agreements when settling winnings with players. It warned that their use could be in breach of licensing regulations.
The Commission has identified twelve areas to focus on and has decided on five as absolute priorities. These are to protect the interests of consumers, prevent harm, raise the sectors standards, optimise returns to social projects and improve industry regulation.