When logging into your bookmaker accounts recently, you may have noticed that you are being asked for verification documents despite having an account for several weeks, months or even years. This is because of changes in licence conditions set by the Gambling Commission which now require bookmakers to verify the identity of customers before allowing them access to their account.
The new conditions came into effect on 7th May 2019 which means we're a month in and you've probably experienced the effects of the changes.
Prior to the first week of May, bookmakers were given several days to verify the identity of new customers. During this time, customers would be allowed to deposit and wager but not withdraw their funds until verified. Sound familiar? There have been many reports of disgruntled players who have complained of the willingness of bookmakers to accept their deposits but not pay out unless they send a number of documents which can sometimes be a hassle.
Bookmakers now, as a minimum, need to verify the name, address and date of birth of all customers before allowing them to gamble.
How these changes will affect you
The changes in the verification process basically mean that bookmakers will have to verify your identity when you create an account. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you will have to send copies of documents such as utility bills, passport, driving licence etc every time you create a new account as some bookmakers may be able to verify your details via other means such as matching your details against the electoral role. However, some bookmakers will likely require documents still and so it's a good idea to have copies at hand to avoid delay in getting access to your account and being able to claim new customer offers and other promotions.
You may also notice that bookmakers for which you have held an account with for a long time are asking for verification documents. This is because bookmakers are required to re-verify the identity of their customers and if they can't verify you automatically, they will ask for documentation.
Although these changes may seem an inconvenience to many players, they are actually a good thing. Once you have set up your account and been verified, you shouldn't receive any surprise emails asking you to hand over documents when you try to withdraw a big win.