The Benefits of Age Verification for Online Gambling

17 September 2004

Recently, significant attention has been drawn to the issue of age verification for online gambling services, as a result of the U.K. study preformed by GamCare, Citizencard and the Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety. That article demonstrated that 30 of 37 online casinos and betting sites that were tested allowed minors to set up accounts. The accounts were setup using a debit card, with the minor giving their accurate address and personal information, but indicating that they were of legal age to gamble. For the purpose of the study, a site "passed" if the account was blocked or a request was made for further proof of age and I.D., after the registration process was complete. Failing sites simply allowed the user to log on and gamble.

This state of affairs demonstrates a critical need for some form of workable age verification for gaming Web sites. Since minors are gaining increasing access to credit cards issued by various different merchant banks, credit cards can no longer be used as a form of age verification for online transactions. Moreover, VISA has notified webmasters that it specifically objects to the use of its credit cards for purposes of age verification. Therefore, it is time for an innovative solution to the vexing problem of online age verification for gaming Web sites.

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Lawrence G. Walters is a partner with the national firm of Weston, Garrou, DeWitt & Walters, with offices in Orlando, Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm practices in the area of Free Speech regulation, Internet law, Gaming law and Advertising issues. Nothing in this article is intended as legal advice. Please consult with your personal attorney on specific legal issues.

You can reach Lawrence Walters at:, or AOL Screen Name, "Webattorney."