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What casinos need to consider in a post-COVID world

The Betting and Gaming Council has announced new guidelines for UK land-based casinos as they prepare to reopen. However as with every kind of business, casinos will look very different, post-pandemic.

Capacity limits will be in place to maintain social distancing and allow customers to play safely, while contactless payments will become standard wherever possible.

With the low £45 limit on contactless card transactions, Apple Pay and Google Pay are now essential in helping customers avoid touching payment terminals. But there’s another reason why contactless payments will be essential. As restrictions across the economy start to ease, there may be cash waiting for laundering opportunities.

Casinos have historically been used by money launderers. An individual buys chips with illicit cash, plays briefly and then cashes in the remaining chips for ‘legitimate’ funds or a receipt to claim the proceeds as gambling winnings.

To stop the pent-up demand for money laundering opportunities being directed at casinos, contactless and other card-based transactions are essential. But what is truly imperative is for casinos to make sure they are prepared with the right identity verification and fraud prevention practices.

Unique challenges

Casinos face unique challenges. Firstly, casinos must ensure their players are over 18 and secondly, they must ensure players are not on watch lists or self-excluded.

Thirdly, they must protect themselves from fraud and ensure they are checking people for Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and individuals on sanctions lists.

Carrying out these checks in a manner that protects the business, its staff and its customers is both a health and a business challenge.

Manual identity document checking exposes both customers and staff to health risks as well as being slow and prone to errors. Even using technology to digitally check and match identity documents is only a partial solution if the casino still must manually handle the customer’s identity document.

Pre-COVID, any element of manual handling was lengthy and resulted in queues. In a socially distanced environment this will be even slower and lead to excessive queuing.

Digital identification and verification technology allows casino operators to admit customers safely and compliantly. The technology uses a combination of identity document checks, facial recognition (to ensure the customer’s face matches the identity document) and database checks.

Our solution integrates with casino operators’ existing systems to register new customers and update existing customers’ records. Ongoing monitoring for PEPs and sanctions and the ability to carry out enhanced due diligence checks complete the full suite of identity checks.

Implementing an end-to-end digital verification process is a sustainable, robust and compliant solution for the long term, not just a fix to get through the pandemic. It enhances the registration and entry process for customers and improves the quality of identity checks, protecting the reputation of casino operators.

COVID-compliant identity verification means never having to touch a customer’s identity document again.

 


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