American company Jumio, a leader in identity verification has recently made a daring claim –
By implementing a system like Jumio’s which combines document reading with facial recognition, regulators can enable online betting operators to take advantage of readily available technology – ie. smartphones – to confirm the identities and ages of their patrons.
The number of children betting regularly in the UK has quadrupled to 450,000, according to a new study out by the UK Gambling Commission. Alarmingly, the amount of children ages 11-16 with a gambling problem has now climbed to 55,000, according to the report. In fact, more children said they had placed a bet in the past week than drank alcohol, smoked or taken drugs.
This is deeply troubling. But it also points to the need for society, and those who have a stake in the gambling industry, to double down on efforts to bring fairness and safety to the core of what we do.
Banning gambling outright is not the solution. Given the relevance of the internet to our lives, outlawing the industry would banish it to the corners of the dark web. With this comes a plethora of unregulated dangers, which we would not be able to monitor, control or address.
However, those deeply invested in the internet and in the free market must carve out a more proactive role in managing personal data and preventing its misuse. As Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said last week, “I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation.” We would side with that, and push the debate further to advocate that the tech industry must embrace new regulations.
As tech experts, we must play a role in helping to shape regulation which works for all parties: the industry, the consumer and the government.
The UK Gambling Commission has a rare opportunity to adopt proven biometric-powered identification and age verification to empower betting companies, casinos and their sportsbooks, to reliably and securely determine whether the player is who they say they are. Not only does it help protect the operator’s ecosystems from fraud and bad actors, but it also shuts out minors.
To this end, strong identity and age verification represents a legitimate scenario for the Commission, the operators and the players. Let those of us devoted to reducing fraud in gambling take to heart this winning combination to promote and protect what’s good and right.