Proving the source of wealth at an online casino

Casinos will ask for information about their players when necessary, but is it normal for them to ask for proof of source of funds? The answer is yes.
.Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash.

Casinos will ask for information about their players when necessary, but is it normal for them to ask for proof of source of funds? The answer is yes. Proof of source of funds at an online casino is important due to a number of laws, directives and the security of the player and the gaming site.

Many new casino players may be surprised at how closely casinos are monitored inside and out. The laws and regulations governing the gambling industry are specifically aimed at protecting player rights. Proof of wealth in online casinos is one of many practices that are literally designed to ensure that the game is fair and legal.

Whether you play at a national monopoly or a licensed foreign online casino, the need to prove the source of your wealth is something that established customers will almost certainly face at some point. It can also be very quick for those who, for example, win massively on a casino game or radically change their gambling behavior within a short period of time.

SOW and SOF are abbreviations for wealth checks and should not be shied away from. You will inevitably come across them on gambling sites.

Proving the source of your wealth

  • It will happen sooner or later at all online casinos if you play a lot.

  • Based on international laws and directives.

  • It's easy - just send the requested documents.

  • Cannot be ignored unless you want your account closed.

  • Demonstrates that the casino is operating within the law.

Why does the casino ask for proof of the source of funds?

The risk of money laundering in gambling has been recognised internationally as being of a significant magnitude. In theory, casino activities can be exploited to disguise the origin of illegally acquired funds. For this reason, gambling companies are required by international law to play an active role in the eradication and prevention of all forms of abuse.

Licensed online casinos are under the control of the licensing authority and there is of course no arbitrary control. The Money Laundering Act obliges companies operating in a number of sectors to carry out a risk assessment of the risks of abuse and to identify their customers. This approach is particularly important in the gambling sector, which is strictly controlled and regulated.

If a player is a political figure, lives in a high-risk country or his gambling habits change significantly in a short period of time, online casinos will need to ask the customer for proof of the source of his wealth. In order to ensure that the money deposited by the player is really his, it is sometimes necessary to ask for documentation.

In preventing money laundering, terrorist financing and underage gambling, the Gambling Licensing Authority acts in line with the guidance provided by pan-European laws and several Directives.

The integrity of secure online casinos is therefore linked not only to the control of the money laundering laws and the Gambling Licensing Authority in each country, but also to the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and for instance the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (FATF).

Example: Finnish casino markets

The laws and directives also require players to be able to prove the origin of their deposits when requested to do so, even in foreign online casinos. The most relevant and common operators in Finland, for instance, hold a gaming license from either the Maltese MGA or the Estonian EMTA. When playing at these casinos (kasino ilman rekisteröitymistä in Finnish) and the amount of money in the account reaches a certain point, a situation arises where security and anti-money laundering measures are enforced.

The online casino must identify the customer when the winnings claimed by the player reach the €2 000 threshold. Only after the customer has been identified and his identity verified, i.e. after certain documents have been checked, can winnings of this size be legally transferred to the player. Identity verification is also required whenever there is reason to suspect that something anomalous is happening with the funds in the account and their use.

Measures to verify the source of funds - Source of Wealth (SOW) and Source of Funds (SOF) - are always taken on a case-by-case basis. Casinos reserve the right to conduct background checks on their players at any stage. Naturally, the speed at which casinos respond may vary. The limits and the circumstances that practically force a reaction are laid down in the Money Laundering Act.

Why is this source of funds question not normally asked at the time of the first deposit? Because any money laundering activity requires not only a deposit but also a completed withdrawal. Moreover, getting started would be a very cumbersome process if the whole security palette of the casino were to be slapped in front of the player from the outset.

How is the source of funds verified?

Proving the source of funds at an online casino starts with a request from the gaming site. The player then has 30 days to provide the casino with the requested documents. This timeframe applies to all gambling sites, regardless of their gaming license.

Proof of wealth or income at an online casino is provided by sending the casino receipts or other proof of the source of the wealth, for example in the form of screenshots. This could be, for example, a receipt for winnings from casino gambling.

Bank statements relating to property and, for example, house purchases, can also be used to prove the source of wealth. There are other ways, of course, and pay slips and employment contracts can be used in addition to share transactions. All documents must show your name alongside the information.

Verification of the source of wealth - documents:

  • Pay slip or employment contract

  • Proof of casino winnings (slots, table games, live casino, lottery, betting)

  • Proof of sale of shares

  • Will (inheritance)

How does SOW / SOF differ from KYC?

Proving the source of funds has similar features to the verification of a gaming account. Verification of a gaming account refers to a security check, which is usually carried out immediately after a cumulative deposit of €2,000 has been made at online casinos.

This check is also known as the Know Your Customer (KYC) process. In the KYC process, traditional online casinos that require registration ask the player to confirm their identity, home address and payment method.

The KYC process is an effective way to weed out criminal activity and protect the player. SOW and SOF, or proof of wealth, are a logical extension of the security aspects. They are not particularly complicated processes either. When a casino sends out a request for verification of the source of funds, it is important to remember that, ultimately, it is a matter of adhering to the principles of safe, reliable and responsible gambling. There are no rules of thumb when it comes to the amount of money involved, as casinos will carry out checks when they deem it necessary.

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