Off the back of this week’s call to gambling firms from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for more stringent management of player spend, we took a closer look at how the affiliates view the age verification rules that the UK has imposed on free to play slot games embedded in affiliate sites.
While the rules are pretty clear cut for operators, affiliates often struggle to determine what they are required to do when it comes to understanding complex legislation and compliance rulings.
Free play slots are popular with players at affiliate sites as they give them the chance to try the game before committing to spending or betting any real money. Additionally, the use of free age verification tools have some affiliates questioning just how effective they can be.
We recently spoke with a spread of iGaming affiliates about this topic and their thoughts on the age verification requirements in the UK.
Check out what they had to say below:
AffiliateINSIDER: Do you use age verification technology on your site now?
Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko: “We do not use age verification technology on the Bojoko.com site as we do not offer demo games at this stage. That being said, we have spent the past 12 months developing a blackjack training application (available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store) that does use age verification. Before players can use the training tool, they must confirm their age by taking the steps laid out in the attached document.
What I remain unsure about is whether age-gating freeplay games has actually had a positive impact on safe gaming. I sometimes wonder whether hiding them behind age verification actually makes them more appealing – to pass age verification, a user simply needs to enter a date of birth that confirms they are over the age of 18. It is probably an area that requires more research and analysis.
Aside from age verification, I think the industry is doing a reasonably good job when it comes to preventing minors from accessing gambling sites and games. Banning the use of cartoons and characters that might appeal to underage players was a strong and welcome move by the UK Gambling Commission. “
Daniel Dolejsi Social Media and Community Manager at Casino Guru: “Yes, we use age verification to make sure that free versions of casino games available on our website are only accessible to visitors from the United Kingdom that are at least 18 years old. People, who are supposed to pass the verification process, usually pass it. I am not aware of any exact statistics, but the current solutions we are using seem to be working well for us.”
AffiliateINSIDER: Would you use a free age verification product or solution on your site?
Joonas Karhu: “The onus to verify a player’s ID and age is on the operator so I do not see the need for affiliates to do this. Unless, of course, they offer demo games in which case they are required to verify a player’s age before providing access to the game. The role of affiliates is to provide players with the information and insight they need to choose online casinos that meet their requirements, and they shouldn’t need to verify a player’s age to do this.”
Daniel Dolejsi: “If the solution works well enough, comparably to the best paid ones available on the market, then sure. But it needs to work as intended. Not only should it block access to people under 18 years old, but the entire process should also be user-friendly, so that people that are supposed to pass the verification are able to do so without any issues.”
AffiliateINSIDER: Have the additional age verification costs & tighter regulations taken you out of any particular markets?
Joonas Karhu: “We are not deterred by the complexity or cost of regulation, more whether it has a negative impact on the user experience. Regulation is important and we must ensure players are properly protected, but equally they must not damage the user experience to the point that players opt to play at unlicensed sites where there are no protections in place. The Swedish market is a great example of this.”
Daniel Dolejsi: “No, or at least not yet.”
So, can a free age verification solution really get the job done correctly?
We also asked 1account – a provider of a free age verification solution used by both iGaming operators and affiliates what they had to say:
Caroline Steele, Senior Client Director – Gaming at 1account: “The age verification service is free thanks to our unique commercial model. As we build up our client base, we will be introducing new paid-for services, such as payment solutions for operators and e-commerce businesses, who will then be able to use our fast, frictionless technology to handle payments, as well as verifying user identities.
Our secure database of users from multiple verticals (such as vaping and alcohol) also means that we don’t need to re-verify users once they’ve been checked and validated in our database. We pass this cost-saving directly on to our clients by offering them a completely free tool.”
Affiliates can clearly benefit from the use of an age verification tool, especially one that is free to use. 1account believes that their tool offers “total peace of mind for compliance in highly-regulated markets.”
They added: “Ultimately, it will help drive up standards across the gaming market – and we firmly believe that a safer, more compliant industry is also a more sustainable and profitable industry.”
To find out how you can use 1Account’s FREE AGE VERIFICATION product – contact firstname.lastname@example.org today! They will be happy to get you set up in no time at all.