Betting 101: KYC


The previous article concerned ‘Funding Your Betting Accounts’ and we follow that up with a discussion on KYC.

So you have done your research and eliminated all F rated and scam bookmakers from the options available and are now ready to take the plunge and open your first bookmaker account.

KYC stands for Know Your Client or Know Your Customers and is used throughout the banking world as a means of verifying the identification of their users in order to prevent money laundering.

As the betting world involves the movement of money from A to B and sometimes via A to B to C (or circumventing B completely), KYC has become an important part of the process of opening and managing an account with a bookmaker.

Now bookmakers really should, as good moral practice, ask for relevant documentation upon the opening of the account. They are improving at this, with a nudge from the relevant authorities, but not all do and instead some will do so once you attempt your first deposit, which is irritating and slightly underhanded or upon your first withdrawal, which in my opinion borders on the dishonest.

What do you need to provide?

Personal Identification

ALL bookmakers should ask for this and you should be slightly concerned if they have not. They are required to by their regulators and so if nothing is requested then perhaps they are regulated in a location where rules are lax, which could have implications for the security of your funds later down the line.

Generally one of the following satisfies the requirements:

- Passport copy

- Driving licence copy (as long as it has a photo)

- Personal ID copy (as long as it has a photo)

Now each bookmaker will have its own requirements as to how this should be provided but from experience you should ensure that your copy adheres to the following:

- A photograph (rather than a scan)
- In colour
- All 4 corners of the document are showing
- JPG or PDF format

Address Verification

Generally one of the following satisfies the requirements:

- A utility bill
- A bank statement
- Local authority tax bill/council tax bill
- Tax bill
- Residency certificate issued by local government authority

You should ensure that your copy adheres to the following:

- Dated within the past 3 months
- Colour
- All 4 corners of the document are showing
- JPG or PDF format

As the world moves in a paperless direction more and more bookmakers are accepting downloadable PDFs from your source, but don’t automatically assume that they will do so, some still only accept a photo or the paper format received through the post.


Payment Verification

A few will ask for this but it is becoming less common as the assumption is that your payment provider should have performed their own KYC process. If you are using Bitcoin, for instance, it is incredibly unlikely (and frankly very difficult) to request evidence that the Bitcoin address from where your bookmaker account was funded belongs to one from your wallet…

If you use a debit/credit card to fund your account then you may be asked to provide a colour photograph of the back and front of the card. You should ensure that you block out the numbers that they tell you too to avoid the pictures from somehow falling into the wrong hands.

If you use an internet wallet, like Neteller or Skrill, then a simple screenshot may be necessary to satisfy your requirements. The screenshot will need to show your account number, name and personal details.

Anything else?

Well this is where it gets a little tricky.

Here is an extract from William Hill’s terms and conditions. For those of you unfamiliar with William Hill, it is the largest bookmaker in the UK:

“In certain circumstances we may have to contact You and ask You to provide further information to us directly in order to complete the Checks. For this purpose, we will be entitled, at our sole discretion, to require that You provide us with a notarised ID or any equivalent certified ID according to the applicable law of Your jurisdiction or otherwise, proof of address, utility bills, bank details, bank statements and bank references and any documentation that validates your source of funds. Until such information has been supplied to our satisfaction we may prevent any activity to be undertaken by You in relation to the Account or we may, where we reasonably believe that deliberately incorrect information has been provided by You, keep any amount deposited on the Account following the closure of the Account by us.”

I have highlighted in bold the important part of this section. Bookmakers can, if they include similar text in the terms and conditions, request whatever information they see fit to satisfy firstly that you are who you say you are and, secondly, that the funds are your own. Compliance has become a big deal recently, a number of big name bookmakers have either been fined or had their licenses suspended for not requesting relevant information. This has fuelled problem gambling as the susceptible have wagered far beyond their means without the bookmaker stepping in as required.

There is a secondary reason for requesting additional non-standard information. Bookmakers are well aware that plenty of accounts are operated by persons other than the named owner for purposes of bonus exploitation.

There is no exhaustive list of what may be required here. If you state that your source of funds is your salary then you may be asked to provide a P60 or payslips. If it is a loan then a statement showing the loan or the written contract between the two parties might be requested. I have heard of the following:

- A selfie holding a passport next to the face
- A selfie holding a passport next to the face AND a newspaper with the date
- A Skype call
- A copy of an inheritance will showing that money was inherited

- Pension documentation

In the vast number of cases such information will never be requested, and if it is then the bookmaker generally has reason to be suspicious.

We are passionate about improving all punters’ chances of being profitable in sports gambling and are open to answering any questions that you may have. Please send us a message if anything is unclear or if you would like information on a certain aspect of sports gambling, after all, if you are writing the question it is likely that many others are thinking it.