Lately, there has been a lot of discussion centred on Source of Wealth requests within the online gambling industry.
In this article, I will try to explain what these regulations mean for the average casino player, and what to expect if an online casino asks you to provide Source of Wealth.
What is Source of Wealth?
Source of Wealth refers to a request for documentation showing how a player is funding his/her casino account. This can be provided in the form of recent payslips, bank deposits, or similar.
Reports suggest that customers feel these requests are intrusive in nature, and I can understand why players feel this way. Who would want to send their financial information to an online casino?
The reality is, there are certain circumstances where online casinos are legally required to request this information. Every UKGC licensed casino is in the same boat.
Source of Wealth checks will become more commonplace in the industry over the coming years, and I predict that these checks will go a long way to protecting problem gamblers.
Online casinos in the UK can face severe penalties if they fail to protect the consumer, and SoW checks are a big part of implementing those processes.
This article will try to shed some light on the reasoning behind these requests, and give some insight into why Source of Wealth requests can have positive benefits for both players and operators.
As per the Gambling Commission regulations, all online gambling firms must ensure that they:
- Prevent gambling from being associated with crime or disorder, or being used to support crime.
- Ensure that gambling is conducted in a far and open way.
- Protect vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
Following a recent ruling by the Gambling Commission, the Executive Director Neil McArthur stated:
“Gambling businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they keep crime out of gambling and tackle problem gambling – and as part of that they must be constantly curious about where the money they are taking is coming from.”
The above statement clearly demonstrates that online gambling firms must use SoW checks from both an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and a Responsible Gambling perspective.
Who do ‘Source of Wealth’ checks protect?
Source of Wealth checks have become a useful tool when it comes to protecting problem gamblers in the UK.
In a recent case involving a UK based online casino, a customer with an escalating spend (where total deposits exceeded £100,000) was not asked about the source of their funds or whether they were problem gamblers.
This customer continued to gamble without restriction, despite displaying clear signs of problem gambling.
If this player had been asked to provide the relevant documentation at an earlier stage, steps could have been taken to help the customer take control of their spend before they incurred further significant losses.
There are a number of documented cases in the UK where deposits were made to casinos using funds obtained through crime/theft.
In these cases, the players using illegally obtained funds were problem gamblers.
Had a source of wealth check taken place at the appropriate time, it would have become clear that the person making these deposits did not have the financial means to do so.
All gambling businesses within the UK are subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
They have a responsibility to keep crime out of gambling, and a large part of this is to ensure that they comply with all current Money Laundering Regulations.
What does this mean for the ordinary player?
For the most part, nothing!
Players who are depositing their own money, and are only gambling what they can afford to lose, will likely never have to worry about a Source of Wealth check.
There is, however, a vulnerable minority that should be taken care of. It is this reason that SoW requests are becoming more commonplace.
Whilst most players who receive these requests are fully in control of their spending, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to protecting problem gamblers.
If you do happen to receive such a request and would like to discuss the request further, please feel free to reach out to TradaCasino Management via our support page.