ID verification is an integral part of the customer onboarding process. However, this vital part of the customer journey goes beyond the initial sign-up phase according to industry experts taking part in SBC’s Digital Innovation Day.

Titled ‘Navigating the pathways to digital ID’, and hosted by Project Director at SBC Media, Martyn Elliott, the panel discussed the challenges of ID verification across Europe and the US, as well as the direction of travel for document validation technology in the future.

To watch the full webinar click here.

For Miguel Luís, Head of Compliance at, verification is a relatively easy process in Portugal given that Portuguese citizens have a digital ID linked to their citizen card which operators can gain access to.

Things are slightly more difficult for Charlotta Shelbourg, Director of Product for Le Cor in the Kindred Group, as her organisation works in multiple markets with different regulatory frameworks.

Shelbourg explained: “We have a footprint of 30 licences across Europe and Australia. A handful have digital IDs and the registration process is a lot smoother in those markets. Whereas other markets, we simply rely on information from the customer and their ID. 

“Getting the customer to provide the ID and even further information around KYC is always very difficult. So having these eIDs is a better way for us to get the information and to keep the customer safe. But also the customer prefers that especially in the markets where the reach of the eIDs is well above 80%.”

Unlike in most other regions, the US market is regulated on a state rather than national level and JD Garner, Founder of GambleID, detailed some of the challenges that come with operators working across multiple states. 

Garner said: “You can be an operator that operates in 40 plus states. And if you’re offering more than one or two different types of gaming activity, you could have four or five different ways you have to validate people before you are actually able to allow them to deposit to enter a contest in order to pay out so it’s an interesting juggle.”

The collection of data from customers is required in order to complete the validation process; however, operators can be in danger of alienating potential customers due to the intrusive nature of the checks. 

Affordability checks are being considered by many regulators as part of new responsible gambling guidelines and ID verification will need to be used as part of completing these measures.

Although customers may object to the intrusive nature of the affordability assessment, Shelbourg can foresee customers becoming more willing over time as it becomes an expected part of the operator sign-up process. 

Shelbourg added: “The key benefit of it is that everyone needs to do it. So the customers are getting more used to it and the more usage they get, the more willing they are to actually hand in these types of documents and they know they need to do it to be able to play which is a good thing. 

“My main responsibility is compliance journeys so making them great is a huge commercial opportunity for us in the markets. At the end of the day, you are not thinking about how many documents and information from my bank will my gambling operator need for me to be able to place bets or go on a casino game. These are just things you don’t care about and they need to happen on the side or in a very smooth journey.”

Given the fact that the US gaming market is relatively young compared to other regions, Garner explained that the sector has not on the whole adopted the duty of care process as it focuses on “quick growth”.

He also described the role that GambleID can play in recognising problem gambling and spending habits given the company work with over 230 brands and over 33 million customers that often play across operators. 

Garner said: “We can place those warnings, so to speak, in an aggregate rather than just on one operator vertical. I’ll just use generics, but let’s say somebody is making a lot of bets at one operator, and then they jump over to another operator and start making those same types of bets. If it goes outside of their normal realm or tradition that they usually bet on we can show each operator [and] say hey this person is going on tilt. We need to maybe bring them in a little bit.”

In 2021 the European Commission unveiled plans for a new digital ID wallet that could be used across all countries in the EU. Shelbourg believes that a form of pan-European ID would be “brilliant” and would help to unify what information operators need to request and what customers need to give going forward.

However, she warned that for it to work it would need “market penetration” and to be accessible to the majority of consumers. 

Luís added that a lot of effective ID verification tools already exist, they just need to be used more widely to help create a more “sustainable environment for everyone”.

He explained: “All these things, they already kind of exist, they need to be just set up in a more far-reaching manner because otherwise, you’re creating a limit here which is too easy to circumvent. 

“This needs to lead to a safer environment and a sustainable environment for everyone. Not just for operators, but also for the player. If the player feels safe and feels that he’s been helped to not overreach or overspend. 

“It creates a great environment for everyone to keep this industry safe for the operators, regulators and above all else the players which is the main focus – or where the main focus should always be.”

Why digital ID needs to be far-reaching and sustainable for all