UKGC Announces Free-to-Play Game Age Verification Requirements
One of the most important things that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission does is keep tabs on things and set rules to curb underage gambling. One of the last things they want is advertising that either intentionally or unintentionally targets children.
This is why they have recently announced a clarification on their stance on using free-to-play versions of casino games as advertising tools.
Under their rules, there are certain times that age verification must be put in place even for free play slots and other casino titles. This can be surprising to a lot of people involved in the industry, players and industry experts alike, but things really just break down into two common situations with very few exceptions outside of those.
The New Rules
There are some new rules brought forth in this announcement. These are a part of what they call their License Conditions and Codes of Practice, or LCCP for short, and they’re about what operators need to do.
One of these rules changes has to do with age verification on games used through affiliates. These games previously have not always had an age verification layer in place. This makes sense to plenty of people because there’s no real money being gambled. However, under the new rule set, operators have to put an age verification process in place.
Some other rules were added as well that have to do with age verification for remote gaming and certain remote lotteries, but those aren’t going to affect nearly as many people as the above will.
Who This Rule Will Not Affect
What’s interesting about this rule is that it will not affect software companies who are in the B2B space. This includes software developers who have free versions of their games available on their websites that they use to attract new business.
What’s interesting is that in neither case are affiliates the ones ultimately responsible for age verification on the free to play versions of the games.
If the operators really want to make this work, they’ll have to build the age verification aspects of the situation into the free versions of the titles they make available to affiliates in the first place. That’s how the incentive structure is set up here, and that’s exactly what we expect to ultimately see as changes are made from operators for this result.
What This Means for Players
For players, it really only means that when you view free to play games online, there might be age verification requests in place where there weren’t any before. This might seem like an inconvenience on some level, but it’s going to be set up to be as easy to use as possible while still being effective. The idea here is to help protect underage individuals from being essentially “groomed” by unsavory advertising practices.
We think that’s plenty of a reason to take a moment to verify your age if you want to check out a new game for free.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission Leading the Way
The UKGC is known for being the number one online gambling jurisdiction in the world, and a big part of that is because of how seriously they take their job. They are particularly serious when it comes to protecting players from any type of shady activity, and we’ve seen that in the recent past with big fines being handed out to operators and other companies that haven’t stayed within their rules and guidelines.