The abuse of online gambling bonuses by criminals, highlighted by the conman jailed last month for defrauding operators of £80,000, is a widespread, cross-border problem, according to the Metropolitan Police Gaming Unit. Police from the Gaming Unit, which has traditionally dealt with bricks-and-mortar casino scams, discovered 350 hand-written notes when they arrested Osipau, detailing the stolen identities.
Some 5,900 scanned ID documents were also found, largely purchased from a Russian broker.
The EU’s executive agency is also in talks with gambling regulators across Europe about producing a best practices guide for consumer protection, as part of its 2012 online gambling action plan. The robustness of an operator’s know-your-customer (KYC) controls, anti-money laundering and security systems are being tested all the time.
However, operators argue, ID checks that are too strict can strangle the use of regulated companies and push players towards the black market. In France, early online gambling licensees have complained that the multi-stage verification process, which prevents players from fully activating their accounts until they receive a code in the post, has deterred as many as two-thirds of customers from signing up.