Why does the casino want to see my ID?

Alex (Casino-Okay.com)
December 30, 2019
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Casinos are establishments where money is predominantly involved. After all, another term for casino in German is Spielbank. The question for many players is why the online casino requests so much data all at once before making a withdrawal.

Many players suspect here that the casino is merely trying to prevent the payout. And there is certainly some truth to this assumption. After all, online casinos allow players to make countless deposits even without problems and identity checks.

Despite this, it must be said that online casinos are required by law to verify the identity of their players.

The reason the online casino wants to see your ID is to prevent money laundering. But what is money laundering? Read here why casinos are obliged to do this, sometimes ask for further documents and which documents are necessary and why.

Tip: If you prefer that the online casino where you play not ask for your ID, you can play at one of the following casinos. These use Trustly as a payment provider, which makes money laundering virtually impossible. Therefore, the casino does not need to ask for your details and you may save yourself some trouble:

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What is money laundering in casinos?

Of course, most ordinary citizens have no idea what money laundering is. However, money laundering is a real problem – especially with businesses that function like casinos and can be used anonymously on the internet. The term money laundering refers to the process that takes place when illegal money is turned into legal money. So people who have money that has been obtained through illegal sources are, so to speak, laundering it clean.

The reason for this is to avoid prosecution. Let’s take a drug dealer as an example. This person sells his drugs on the street and thus receives sums of cash that are not to be underestimated. If this drug dealer is employed as an electrician on the side, it will certainly attract attention at some point if he drives through the countryside in a Porsche.

Not only the tax office, but also neighbours and law enforcement agencies will sooner or later be interested in where this person got his wealth. So the process of money laundering here ensures that this illegally obtained money, becomes traceable and taxed income.

By means of money laundering, you turn illegally obtained money into legal, taxed revenue. Unfortunately, casinos are ideally suited for such schemes, which is why all casinos must clearly verify players.

In the analogue world, this is often accomplished through front companies. Thus, a small and actually unsuccessful business may have been set up for the sole purpose of fulfilling bogus orders and thus declaring illegal money as legitimate income. These are then taxed and become legitimate money. After all, if the entrepreneur of a successful small business drives a Porsche, and has paid tax on all his income, no one will find fault with that.

Money laundering serves more organised crime

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Of course, it is not the small-time drug dealers who primarily create an organised money laundering structure. Rather, it is organised crime, such as mafia structures and criminal associations. The amounts of illegal income that have to be laundered are enormous in such large organisations. In this respect, it is usually not enough to set up a single bogus company and award bogus contracts. Simpler approaches have always been gambling companies.

Whether this takes place in a state-licensed casino or in an online casino. The procedure is always the same. The player deposits his money, plays at low risk and then has his winnings paid out. If there are critical enquiries from the official side later on, it is clear that the winnings were casino winnings.

States are therefore acting in the interests of general security and crime prevention when they require businesses such as casinos and casinos to verify their clients. Of course, it is still frustrating for players when they have to send their documents to an online casino.

What documents are usually requested by an online casino?

In principle, these are usually the same documents that are required by a bank when opening an account. Unlike in Germany, however, you do not usually need a postal identification procedure. Casinos only ask for a copy or a photo of the identity card or passport.

A confirmation of residence is normally also required. Here, too, the back of the identity card does not normally apply, as is the case in Germany. Rather, they ask for a consumption point bill, which in other European countries acts as proof of address by default. Consumption points are all the services that are provided at the address itself. In short: gas, water or electricity. Many online casinos also accept a letter from a bank or an office as proof of address.

Use of stolen identity documents

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With identity verification over the Internet, however, another problem arises. After all, a casino employee does not see you in person. So this creates a loophole that clever money launderers have exploited in the past. We are talking about the use of stolen identity documents.

So a particularly perfidious criminal could use your identity document, obtained in an illegal manner, to launder money under your identity. This is usually prevented by the online casinos by additionally requesting a photo of your face with your identity card in your hand. This ensures, at least to some extent, that the person who opened the account is also the one on the identity card.

Verification of financial sources

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In addition, there is the verification of financial sources. So here we are talking about your bank account or the credit card you used to deposit at the casino. At the same time, this is also one of the biggest pitfalls that occur in the verification process. Because practically all online casinos prohibit using other people’s financial sources. Because here again, money laundering would be suspected. This, by the way, includes the account of one’s life or spouse.

So be careful here. When playing at the casino, make sure at all times that the means of payment you use are exclusively in your own name. This is because the T&Cs of online casinos usually state that all winnings can be cancelled if this is not the case.

Also good to know: If you deposit with a Paysafe card, be sure to keep it until you verify it. Preferably even longer. After all, the 16-digit code on these cards is nothing more than a credit card number. So for the casino, it looks as if you used a prepaid credit card to make a deposit. And it may ask for a photo of the credit card at any time – especially if the card number changes frequently. Which it does when using a Paysafe card.

The stupid thing is that these Paysafe cards – similar to the codes for prepaid mobile phones – often come out of small printers at the checkout and also fade quickly. So if you carelessly throw away the slip of paper with the Paysafecard, you may be in for a rude awakening. The best thing to do is to take a picture of every Paysafecard you use to make a deposit in the casino and save the picture (e.g. on your smartphone).

How long does verification usually take?

There are no clear guidelines here. Therefore, the processing time of such a verification process depends on the casino in question. Good and serious online casinos usually manage this within three to a maximum of five working days. If verification takes several weeks or months, caution is advised. Of course, this can happen from time to time. For example, if a small casino has grown much faster than it can hire new employees. But if an online casino makes such delays the rule, one can no longer speak of a reputable online casino with a clear conscience.

But please note: verification usually only takes place once. However, some exceptions do occur. But then it is more about the casino wanting to know where the money for your gaming revenue comes from. More about this later. Another reason why the casino might ask for documents again is that you have changed your means of payment and the casino wants to make sure that you are actually still managing the casino account.

After all, it could be that someone has found out your password and is now using your casino account to make bets with stolen credit card details, for example. So if you frequently change your credit card for payment and then perhaps charge it to a new bank account, you can expect the warning lights to go on at the casino.

Why are there constant requests and requests to send new documents?

Sometimes you feel like you are in a vicious circle. New requests for documents keep coming. And if you send them in the hope that your account will finally be activated, you will be asked again. It is important that online casinos adhere to the applicable law and best practices.

After all, it is not only their gambling licence that is at stake here: after all, an online casino that has been allowed to launder money loses it. At the same time, it could be liable to prosecution through negligence and thus incur penalties in the millions. Casinos are therefore very careful to ensure that the documents sent are originals and prefer to ask once more than once too little.

So, with your documents, make sure that you have considered the following points. What is important is that:

  • The ID is valid
  • The proof of address is not older than a few weeks
  • The documents are clearly visible
  • All four pages of a document are visible
  • No redactions are made on the documents
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Human risk factor

If you have adhered to all these things and still receive further enquiries from the online casino, it may simply be a case of incompetent employees. In most cases, it is not just one person who processes your verification, but many. This means: Person 1 asks for the documents you normally need. As soon as you have sent them, person 2 checks the documents and is of the opinion that this or that is still missing.

Person 2 therefore sends another request to you. As soon as you then send these documents, the case ends up with person 3, who may again have something to find fault with, which he thinks person 1 and person 2 have overlooked. So documents are then requested again. And that can be a real pain in the ass.

Normally, however, this also indicates poor management at the casino. Reason enough to grudgingly go through the verification process and then look for a new casino.

Why does the casino want to know where I got the money?

Also in this case, there is usually a suspicion of money laundering. However, it can also be a department that takes care of responsible gambling. Especially if you handle large amounts, it may be that an online casino demands proof. This is simply to ensure that the money does not come from illegal sources.

So if you can prove that you get a decent salary and therefore the gaming budget is a bit higher, this should normally not be a problem. Also, if you have come into money through inheritance or the sale of a property, this would be an appropriate explanation. Of course, the online casino will demand documents from you that prove this circumstance. And you don’t always feel particularly comfortable as a player in such a situation. But it is important to know that casinos are obliged to carry out such checks precisely for the reasons mentioned above.

If a casino wants to know where your money comes from, it is only a matter of establishing that it comes from legal sources. Casinos are obliged to look closely here to prevent the money from coming from illegal sources.

At the same time, most reputable online casinos have taken it upon themselves to look after the welfare of gamblers at risk of gambling addiction. So if you are about to lose your house and home by taking out a mortgage for online gambling, most reputable casinos will put the brakes on you. And what may seem patronising at first, turns out to be a perfectly sensible step for most of those at risk after a successful therapy.

So try to look on it benignly when the casino screens you. It does so out of a duty to prevent addiction-prone people from gambling away their possessions. And to make sure that you are not supporting organised crime with your casino fun.

Are all people equal in the context of money laundering suspicions?

No. There are people who are under a special focus when it comes to checks regarding money laundering. These people are called politically exposed persons. After all, a politician is in a special position of responsibility. Because politicians make decisions, they are also more susceptible to being encouraged to do certain things through payments. Keyword: corruption.

Such payments are not legal, of course, and to that extent must likewise be turned into legal money through money laundering. So if your name is something like that of a politician and, to make matters worse, you share his or her date of birth, you are bound to come up against some questions.

Here you just have to make it clear that you are not the politician in question. The same applies if you, as a politician, would also like to play in an online casino. Because the status as a politically exposed person merely means that you are under special observation and may have to prove where your gambling funds actually come from.

How often do you have to verify?

Normally, verification takes place only once, as already mentioned. However, enquiries as to where the game credits come from can take place at any time. The same applies to the verification of new means of payment.

Why does verification take place only at the time of withdrawal?

This is a good question. Basically, it can be said that the manual verification of ID and proof-of-address documents obviously costs time and manpower. It is thus a relatively cost-intensive process. So it is not surprising that most casinos only start with the verification when it is firstly legally necessary and secondly makes sense for the casino. This is usually the case with a total payout amount of 2000£.

But even when it comes to large winnings that are up for payout, this can lead to verification. Malicious tongues claim that many online casinos do not carry out this verification until the payout, because in an online casino you are allowed to lose and only when you win do they take a closer look. After all, not all players read articles like this one or the terms and conditions of the respective online casinos. By using the financial data of the partner, some winnings payouts are certainly cancelled in the sense of the online casino.

You can avoid this by playing in a reputable casino. On the other hand, you can also use casinos where verification is not even necessary. We have listed these for you above.

It is for the safety of the general public

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Of course, at first glance it sounds a bit intimidating to read that the online casino wants to verify your identity to prevent money laundering. It is important to keep in mind here that this is not a concrete suspicion against you. Rather, it is a regulatory obligation that all businesses that handle money have to carry out.

So it’s best to stick to the guidelines that are given on the part of the online casino. Send in your documents and don’t forget that it is a procedure designed to curb crime altogether. So in the end, it is in all of our best interests.

Author Alex (Casino-Okay.com)

Alex is editor of the Glücksspiel und Online Casino Kompendium, a widely quoted book on the topic of online gambling. He possesses many years of experience in the online gambling industry. His passion for online casinos is evident in the extensive testing he does, combining his enjoyment of the exciting thrill of online casinos with his interest in sharing 100% objective experiences with readers. To date, he is still an enthusiastic player in online casinos and is annoyed by every player who ends up in a dubious casino. That's why he wants to make sure that readers are spared this at Casino-Okay.com.

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