BGC members report record compliance on age verification checks

Compliance concept
Image: Shutterstock

The Betting and Gaming Council revealed its member bookmakers and casinos achieved record compliance rates for age verification checks.

Reporting independent figures from ID and compliance testing service Serve Legal, the BGC noted that bookmakers had a 91.4 per cent age verification pass rate across thousands of annual checks, while casinos had a pass rate of 98 per cent.

The council said that the compliance rate has increased by 30 per cent across the audit volume since Serve Legal began working with the regulated betting and gaming sector in 2009, with its members enforcing strict age verification to prevent underage gaming.

BGC members have also increased the checking age from “Think 21” to “Think 25” across betting shops and casinos, requiring anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to provide ID.

In addition, the council funds YGAM and GamCare’s £10m Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, which has reached more than two million 11-to-19-year-olds, and those working with them, in the UK.

Wes Himes, Executive Director of Standards and Innovation, said: “The BGC and our members are incredibly proud of these compliance rates, which put us ahead of our peers in every department.

“I am hugely grateful to Serve Legal for their work over the last 15 years, who have been instrumental in this change. Serve Legal, alongside our members and their dedicated staff, have led the charge in raising standards and setting a new benchmark for excellence.

“Bookmakers and casinos play a vital economic role on the UK’s hard-pressed high streets, as well as in the leisure and tourism sector. But economic contribution has to go hand-in-hand with the highest standards.

“We are delivering that, which should be welcome news to customers and communities across the country. Our work to raise standards goes on, and I expect these compliance rates to continue improving across the land-based betting and gaming sector.”

Since 2009, Serve Legal has conducted over 200,000 audits with BGC members to ensure due diligence across various compliance issues.

“Compliance challenges can be greater for smaller independent bookmakers,” noted Serve Legal Client Manager, Ali Deering.

“The BGC have done admirable work in bringing them up to speed with the latest compliance support, to offer a level playing field with other big names in the industry. At Serve Legal we are proud to be supporting all of the BGC’s members, including casinos, with their due diligence and celebrate the tangible successes in each of them.”

The BGC stated that the improvement is “a result of new measures on customer interactions and improved ‘challenge on entry’ standards for age verification”.

The council also highlighted its commitment to protecting young people with its advertising, with a whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting commercials during live sport before the 9pm watershed, as well as age-gating rules for advertising on social media platforms.

In addition, the BGC has written to the UK government “to urge social media companies to cooperate more closely with the betting and gaming industry in limiting marketing seen by young people and problem gamblers”.

Serve Legal CEO, Ed Heaver, added: “The Serve Legal team are incredibly proud of the work conducted by the BGC and their members.

“Their impressive dedication and work ethic has paid off in some highly impressive statistics, showing the 30 per cent compliance increase across the industry over the time that we have worked in the sector. We thank the BGC for pioneering their mission of customer safety alongside ours.”