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What is Underage Gambling?

Underage Gambling is the use of gaming and betting services by minors. In most countries, gambling below a certain age is prohibited, with 18 years of age being the most common minimum gambling age.

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Liveness checks are usually one of the best methods to fight underage gambling.

Why the prevention of Underage Gambling is important.

Preventing underage gambling is vital as it can be addictive and studies have shown it can have a range of negative effects. The United Kingdom has seen significant underage gambling problems, with reports showing over 450,000 children betting regularly.

This also has notable effects on operators, who could face legal repercussions if underaged gambling happens on their platforms.

Underage Gambling prevention from a regulatory point of view.

Regulators are fighting a constant battle to prevent underage gambling. There are many laws in place prohibiting it:

  • the Gambling Act 2005
  • the Age Appropriate Design Code in the UK
  • state & province-specific regulations in USA and Canada.

Many of these countries include operator-specific requirements, such as age verification and other KYC checks during the onboarding process. These serve to both deter and stop Underage Gambling.

Read more in our ebook: Online Gambling regulations in the EU & UK

Online Age Verification: What is it & how it protects minors.

Age verification is the process of checking a player’s age before allowing them to use a gambling service. It’s a standard process aimed at stopping underage gambling. It is usually done by checking a user’s details against government documents, such as a driving license or passport, in the onboarding stage.

Age verification processes for gambling segments.

Online Gaming.

Online gaming can be problematic due to access to players of any age from all over the world. Minors can be taken advantage of through scams, virtual treasures (e.g. loot boxes) or exposed to inappropriate media. Online games generally don’t have in-depth verification processes – usually only an age rating, which requires a certain age to buy the game.


Casinos are highly-regulated gambling platforms and as such require strict verification processes. This involves comparing official identification with potential players’ features (in person) or their details to their ID online. There are many methods of age verification, from simple ID checks to in-depth data comparisons.

Sports Betting.

Sports betting is another highly-regulated platform where there are strict gaming requirements. This also includes ID checks, with online betting being especially monitored, with onboarding programs that compare user details to databases and even verify users through live video.

esports Betting.

esports betting faces similar requirements and processes to sports betting. These are called Know Your Customer (KYC) checks, which compare users’ information to official data to verify their age. However, esports also sees ‘skin gambling’ – betting in-game items – which sometimes attempts to circumvent regulations.

Age verification is the process of checking a player’s age before allowing them to use a gambling service and plays an important role in gambling segments such as Online Gambling, Casinos, Sports Betting and esports betting.

How KYC procedures help combat Underage Gambling.

KYC procedures are key when it comes to combating underage gambling online. These are the processes of verifying the identity of a user before, or during, the start of doing business with them. In the case of gambling, KYC is vital during the onboarding process to deny access to any ineligible users.

This is where IDnow specializes, with our AutoIdent solution providing high-quality KYC and age verification. It checks official documents for authenticity, extracts the information, and even features extra security with liveness detection, via live video, to ensure players are who they claim they are.

Why big sports events are a driver for Underage Gambling.

Big sports events like the FIFA World Cup, EUROs, and the Super Bowl often lead to a notable spike in underage gambling. This is largely due to the events being popular, leading vulnerable groups like teens to want to get in on the action.

With advertisements for these events and betting everywhere, it’s hard to ignore and easy to get drawn in. This is also amplified by gaps in verification, such as a grace period that allows users to place bets for a limited time before submitting verification.

Common questions about Underage Gambling.

What is the legal gambling age?

Gambling is prohibited for minors in most countries. The minimum gambling age varies depending on the place, however, the most common ages are either 18 or 21 years old.

Some countries even have different age requirements for different types of gambling, for example, the minimum age to buy a lottery ticket in the UK was increased in 2021 to 18 from 16 years old.

What are the best ways of stopping Underage Gambling?

Underage Gambling is best combated with a thorough KYC and age verification process. To maximize security and minimize risk, this should include an onboarding process of verifying official documents and verifying the user’s identity through both images and liveness.

What documents can be used to verify a user’s identity?

Generally, any government-issued identity document can be used to verify a user’s identity. This can vary depending on region, however, this includes IDs like driver’s licenses and passports. It’s important for these documents to have clear photos, to help ensure the user is who they claim to be.

What is Liveness & why is it important?

Liveness is one of the best ways to combat underage gambling. In this case, it is a step in the verification process where a user has to provide a live video of themselves to prove they are who they claim they are.

This is an extra security step that makes underage gambling substantially more difficult. It can be simple for underage users to obtain a fake ID or use the details of someone they know, but much harder to fake a video.

What repercussions can operators face if providing services to underage users?

Underaged Gambling is considered a serious issue by regulators and operators can face serious consequences for providing minors a gambling service. The repercussions range from country to country, however they can include fines and a loss of license.

IDnow & KYC

How the IDnow platform enables safer gambling

Effective KYC processes are the backbone of any successful compliance and risk management program, and the demands of meeting KYC obligations are intensifying.

Step up your KYC game

How IDnow can stop Underage Gambling on your platform

Proper KYC processes are key to keeping you and your users safe from underage gambling – find out how with AutoIdent’s expert toolkit.

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