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THE IMPORTANCE OF AGE VERIFICATION ONLINE

When the UK Gambling Commission informed licensees that users of free play slots in the UK would first need to be age verified before they could play them, it would have a huge knock on effect for affiliates such as myself who used this business model to market the latest slots to potential players.

Although my business was not directly bound to obey the new legislation laid out by the UKGC, by not complying to this new rule, relationships that were held with online casinos would be seriously jeopardised as penalties could be imposed by the regulator on them for affiliates not towing the line, which has been seen on several occasions in the past. 


REACHING THE POINT OF NEEDING AGE VERIFICATION FOR ONLINE ACTIVITIES

As we are all aware the internet has exploded in popularity over recent times, and with huge advancements in technology over the last 20 years it has never been easier to access it. To put it in a personal perspective I remember travelling to, and backpacking around New Zealand for one year, to contact anybody back home in England it would require me to purchase a phone card, head to a public phone, then type in around 50 numbers before finally hearing the ringing tone. Fast forward to the current day and when I'm away from home now I whip out my smart phone, log onto the WIFI, hit video call, and I'm face to face with whoever I want in seconds.

Apply these same advancements to things such as alcohol, tobacco based products, and gambling, then you're going to see the availability of these things reach a far greater audience that what they would have done 20 or so years ago. Now factor in that the national office of statistics reported that 100% of 16-24 year olds have access to the internet via a smartphone, and even more alarming the Independent reported that a quarter of children under 6 had a smartphone, whilst parents insisted that age 11 was ideal for a child to own their first phone, then you have a pending epidemic of adult related pastimes at the fingertips of children in the United Kingdom. 


ADDRESSING THE ISSUE OF AGE VERIFICATION FOR A FREE PLAY SLOT SITE

Implementing an age verification process to a free play slot site isn't something that just takes a few minutes, time to research the companies that supply this process is needed, assessing costs and time frames also comes in to play. After putting in the hours to find what would work best for my free play slot website I decided to sign up with Agechecked who are specialists in global age verification.

This was a process that was made simple and I was guided with thorough and detailed information of how the process would work, what I would need to do with regard to adding it to my site, and received constant support throughout, and after full implementation of the verification system.


PERSONAL VIEWS ON THE LEGISLATION

In the ever changing landscape of the internet and in particular online gambling, I believe this was a necessary piece of legislation that will help prevent children from coming into contact with slot machines online, especially through a mobile device. However it has been a very frustrating time and I personally feel there have been many failings from the regulator, mainly because of the grey area they first created when bringing in this piece of legislation, and then the lack of enforcing it thereafter. 

I made some concerns about this in an edition of coinslot earlier in the year, and at the time of writing this ( November 2019 ) there are still sites offering free play slots without an age verification process in place, this is very disheartening when you follow the rules that are laid out by the regulator and others completely disregard the law whilst profiting from it at the same time.

Further failings in my opinion were that whilst a business model such as free play slots came under fire, mobile apps, and loot boxes were left to run as normal, which are again in my opinion a far greater risk to children in the UK than finding a free to play slot site through a google search. Heading to the App Store on your mobile and just typing the word slots will bring various results that can be played for virtual money in seconds, social media platforms also offer a wide range of casino style games which again were left to continue as normal. 

Astonishingly the UKGC themselves point out that they had not yet advised the government for the need of additional legislation in a 2017 paper for the social casino sector, which you can read more about here. Surely all free play casino games have to fall into the same category, and quite frankly whilst they don't it makes the legislation in place on free to play slot sites a complete waste of time.


OVERVIEW & THE FUTURE AHEAD WITH AGECHECKED

Change can be a frightening prospect at times and we can never predict what may be around the corner when it comes to new developments in legislation. However I now feel that my successful partnership with Agechecked will give me the confidence to face any new challenges head on, implement new legislation quickly, and most importantly keep those most at risk safeguarded whilst continuing to grow my business.

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