Betting Industry Supports Use of ‘E-ID’ For European Union Gaming Verification

Posted on: February 3, 2022, 09:48h. 

Last updated on: February 3, 2022, 01:49h.

The European Union (EU) is considering the implementation of a “European Digital Identity” (E-ID) for identification verification. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBC) thinks it’s a great idea, especially for the gaming industry.

European Commission
EU flags fly outside the European Commission Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium. The EC has tentatively approved the introduction of a digital E-ID. (Image: Caproasia)

A measure is underway in the EU that would facilitate the legalization of an electronic wallet. In it, EU citizens would be able to record their personal data, such as name, email address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and more.

Approval would mean that public and private organizations would have to offer the capability. In addition, online sites would have to accept digital data as legally-verified information.

Digital ID Verification Coming

The E-ID would allow individuals to legally identify themselves digitally, while also being able to share and sign documents online. Signatures would be legally binding, and the information in the documents would be recognized by the EU’s legal system.

Vasiliki Panousi, the organization’s Manager of EU Affairs, believes it will offer a lot of advantages to operators and customers.

An EU-wide e-ID would strengthen existing processes to prevent minors from accessing online gambling and positively impact the EU’s fight against criminal and fraudulent activity,” said EGBA Manage of EU Affairs Vasiliki Panousi.

The regulation will become active next year at the earliest. The European Commission wants to have at least 80% of the EU population using the system within the next eight years.

Questions, Concerns Remain

The concept of a legal E-ID, as controversial as it may be, has been floating around for a couple of years. It was first seen in 2020, and the expectation at the time was for a 2021 launch. However, the issue became more complicated than experts and lawmakers anticipated.

There has also been backlash and concern over the government having a widespread database of personal information. Some of the information already exists in government-controlled databases, but the new proposal would centralize it without cross-referencing.

The EGBA was in favor of the idea when it first appeared. Ekaterina Hartmann, the organization’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, said that it would help to “prevent minors from accessing online gambling and to fight fraud and money laundering.”

However, there are still some concerns about whether it will address certain issues in the gaming industry. Namely, questions regarding how it could interact with self-exclusion systems still need a response.

Panousi counters that concern. His input on the subject is part of the January 2022 edition of the International Masters of Gaming Law Magazine. He points out that operators will have an easier task of identifying all of their users. He asserts, “It would also offer national gambling authorities a standardized tool to identify customers with a high degree of certainty and support an operator’s compliance in their jurisdiction.”

Tech Specs

The digital wallet will work on smartphones and tablets. It would be accessible the same way Google Pay and Apple Pay work now. The wallet would give every individual the ability to control who has access and to what data.

The system will display specific attributes of the user rather than all information in the document.

It would, for example, confirm that the user is at least 18 years old to buy alcohol and hold a valid driving license, but not reveal any other personal information.