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GDPR and the Gambling Industry

By Elisha Franklin, Updated: March 8, 2024

GDPR Explained

The GDPR refers to the General Data Protection Regulation, and it is one of the newest European legislation that has been put in place to offer the protection of personal data of citizens of the EU. The GDPR will affect anybody or any organisation that is holding personal data on residents.

As of May 25, 2018, any company or organisation that does not comply with the data handling rules will be subject to huge fines. Even though the GDPR has been of knowledge since 2016, many try to avoid the regulations. The GDPR affects the gambling industry in some ways including the collection and handling of the employee as well as customer data.

Industry-Wide Data Transparency

One of the main things the new rule sets forth to do is to provide transparency for the people handling the data as well as those who are the owners of the data being held. It will also affect consent. Giving consent is a strict process and simply checking off a box will not limit consent to any data being used. It is much more involved.

All of the same principles will always be applied to online gambling as well. Data that is affected can include player location, age, playing history, payment details and more. Online operators will hold information for many reasons. This is often for their protection but is also for the offering of marketing items and promotions. Online operators have an amazing grasp of data protection policies, and they always follow strict initiatives, including Know Your Customer.

Know Your Customer Overview

Before one can fully understand what changes GDPR will make for online gamblers, it is important to know how much personal information is actually required by gaming site operators.

In the UK, The Know Your Customer scheme is offered by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. To prevent any underage gambling activities or money laundering, the UK operators are required to legally perform checks on all possible customers who will involve the collection of certain data including:

  • Physical house number.
  • Zip code of residence.
  • Any recent changes in addresses.
  • Date of birth.

All of the collected data will be collected through the use of personal documents that can include driver’s licenses, photo IDs and passports. A recent tax or utility bill may also be required to prove proof of residence.

Does GDPR Affect Online Players?

Online operators are now required to be very careful with the collection and storage of data, and they have to produce consent from the player. There is a detailed consent form that will be presented to every player, and this will include all the details. The consent form must meet certain guidelines and has to be:

  • Clear and different from other matters.
  • Understandable and available to players easily.
  • Written in clear and plain language that all can understand.
  • As easy to withdraw as they are to give.

Basically, online gambling websites have to make it clear when players will be expected to provide any personal data. There are also options for the player to request that data be removed.

Reclaim Personal Data

With the new regulations, players will have much more information on when and how they are consenting to the provision of data, and they will also have additional rights in regards to checking the security of this information and withdrawing it if needed. It is similar to a company allowing an employee to see any data that is held on them. As of May 25, 2018, online gamblers can ask for full details on any data that has been collected and stored.

The overall goal with these regulations is to provide power to data subjects so they have more rights and can easily obtain their data from anyone or any company that has control over that data. They can also ask how all data is being used and stored. All data will be provided free based on current laws.

In addition to having more power, players also have the “right to be forgotten.” With this right, one can ask that all of their provided data be removed. This is one way for players to be reassured their data remains secure when they no longer are associated with the company.

Is the Gaming Experience Affected?

The main purpose of the GDPR is to provide rights for data subjects, so there will be no changes to online gaming or bingo action. The transparency surrounding consent may be shocking to players, but it will quickly become a normal thing.

Any player that chooses to withhold data will find they may not have access to the various bonuses and promotions they did in the past, but this is a personal choice that can be made by the player. With the new and strict regulations, all players are assured that their data is stored confidentially and securely at all times, preventing it from getting into the wrong hands and allowing players to enjoy a more secure gambling experience.

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