1account: Building trust is key for digital ID roll-out

Digital ID can allow bettors to have more control over their information, creating a sense of ‘trust’ between operators and the players. That’s according to Caroline Steele, Senior Client Director – Gaming at 1account.

Discussion on ‘The opportunity for Digital ID in a physical world’ panel at this week’s SBC Digital Payments conference quickly turned towards the challenges associated with information sharing – especially looking at how this has been something the gambling industry has not been ‘particularly good at’.

However, Steele highlighted ‘trust’ as the key word when it comes to establishing a relationship with a player. She said: “It’s a big task for 1account as a digital ID provider and also the government to be able to provide a framework that’s robust enough so that it protects the users. It’s very much about what data is stored and how it’s used and who owns it. That has to be made incredibly clear.

“But, I think with the digital ID, it allows the users to have more control. As a user, you can control what information you have stored in your ID wallet, which also gives us a better experience because, for instance, with a digital ID wallet you can buy a house or place a bet. 

“And if you’re anything like me, and I have to prove my ID, I’m hunting for various bits of paper all over the place. So, if it’s stored there and I have control, it’s a better user experience. I can just say, ‘yes this is my ID and everything’s on there’.”

She continued: “Obviously, I think it allows people to link their ID with various databases so your driving licence would be linked to the DVLA and other databases so potentially it could be a system where we just literally update your 1account ID on it, and then it’s updated.

“And open banking – I know the industry is talking a lot or starting to talk now a lot about open banking. Well, your bank account could be linked to your ID wallet via banking.”

Steele was joined on the panel by Ralph Topping, former CEO of William Hill, who explained that the industry must take a ‘helicopter view’ of age verification – highlighting statistics which show that 20% of adults have no photographic ID, such as passports or driving licences. 

“ID security codes take a lot of the hassle out of it so you can bet instantaneously,” said Topping. “There is a linkage between the ID wallet and your account online as well so that is this almost cross-pollination I would call it, but if you switch them to online and you think about the online process, you have to open an account and you have to have these checks, and you have to be verifying who you are.

“Whereas with this system, there’s a variety of data sources and checks. You’ve got the traditional ones, which are the voters rolls and the credit references, and then you’ve got exclusive data sources, so that there’s eight sources are referenced and define and identify more people so is the success rate is up to 95%, which when I was told that figure it kind of blew my mind.”

He continued: “So, you have to make sure you’re compliant, you’re regulated and you’re quickly assessed, and the good thing about the system at present is there’s no charge for the services which, again, I can’t think of anybody who’s looking to verify someone online who wouldn’t use the system because it speeds the whole process and I think the frustration for clients is huge.”

During the discussion, panellists reflected on the importance of ID verification technologies in the modern age, focusing on the ways in which operators can alleviate fears associated with digital verification.

Simon Bazalgette, Independent Non-Executive Director and former CEO of the English Football League and The Jockey Club, lauded the potential of self-service machines across UK racecourses, explaining why these terminals could mark a ‘transformational development’ for the industry.

He said: “I think it will make a big difference on the racecourse. The racecourses have looked at self service terminals for quite some time and certainly over the last two or three years with the changing ownership of the Tote and a closer relationship with China. It’s always been seen as an important development of the course.

“If you look in France or the US or Hong Kong, self-service terminals are a massive part of what goes on on the racecourse and how people enjoy themselves and get their bets on.”

However, the ‘family-friendly’ appeal of racecourse means that operators and organisations must ensure only those of age can utilise the services on offer.

“In the UK we haven’t been able to do it partly because the technology hasn’t yet been there,” Bazalgette noted. “I think it now is, but the biggest issue was the licence restrictions that meant that these kinds of checks had to be done in person. Therefore, they couldn’t really be self-service because you would always have to have supervision and that effectively meant it wasn’t really viable up until now.

“Effectively, this technology makes it viable. I think it opens up the opportunity to make it much easier and more attractive for people to be able to have a bet, particularly on the Tote but I think also in the fixed odds bookmakers.”

In addition to a packed agenda, SBC Digital Payments includes great peer to peer connectivity as well as a virtual exhibition and a virtual networking bar. To attend the event please visit the SBC Digital Payments Website.

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