The very nature of betting is such that plenty of people will be keen to get involved with placing bets in an anonymous manner. In the modern era, however, it’s important for companies online to know who it is that is placing bets with them as well as where that money has come from. Online gambling is a natural place for those less scrupulous to head to to launder their money, turning it clean when it has been obtained via ill-gotten gains that means they wouldn’t be able to spend it otherwise.
Consequently, as far as placing bets is concerned at least, betting with anonymity is not easily done. You won’t be asked to provide identification if you place a bet inside a betting shop or with a bookmaker at a racecourse, unless you look too young to do so, in which case you’re back to square one. With that in mind, those that wish to place bets and maintain a degree of anonymity have very limited options available to them, which we will explore in more detail here.
Why Companies Need Your ID
Given the manner in which betting companies repeatedly ask you to provide them with some identification before they’ll allow you to place a wager, it’s entirely reasonable to ask why that is. In the case of bookmakers legally operating in Britain, it is a requirement of gaining a licence to operate from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission that they will get ID from their customers. They need to ensure that they know who their customers are, which includes you if you want to place wagers with them.
There are three main reasons why a company needs to check your identification, with the first one being money laundering. This is something that the UKGC takes extremely seriously, given the extent to which criminals try to use online gambling companies to launder their money. Money laundering involves using funds that have been obtained illegally in one way or another, putting them into something and taking ‘clean’ money out. Betting on outcomes with odds of Evens or better is a good way to do this.
The prevalence of criminals using bookmakers to help them clean their cash is such that gambling companies need to ensure that they know who all of their customers are. They also need to know where their money is coming from, especially if they’re depositing and withdrawing large sums of money on a regular basis. The fact that you’re being asked to provide ID on the back of money laundering suspicions doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong, just that they want to make sure that’s the case.
Another reason for asking people to provide identification is to ensure that all customers are over the age of 18. Those that wish to gamble in certain forms in the United Kingdom have to be aged 18 or over to do so, so getting information from a customer to prove their age is necessary. It is also a good way of stopping people from committing fraud, allowing companies to do background checks on customers in order ensure that they are who they say they are when they’re looking to place bets.
Places That Don’t Need Identification
If you’re truly determined to bet with anonymity, the best place to head to is your nearest bookmaker. Provided they don’t have reason to suspect that you’re up to no good and you look old enough to be betting, they’ll accept wagers off you without asking you for any identification. You can pay in cash and collect your winnings in cash, so you won’t need to provide them with any information that you think might betray who you are and why it is that you’ve decided to place a bet.
The same is true of on-course bookmakers, who will happily take your money and ask no questions about who you are or why you’re betting. Once again, this is provided that you don’t give them a reason to think that you want to remain anonymous because you’re doing something wrong. Of course, both of these methods require you to place your bets in person, which automatically means that a degree of your anonymity has been lost.
If you’re really determined to place a bet without anyone seeing who you are or knowing anything about you, the only place that you’re likely to be able to do as much is with an unlicensed betting site. We would strongly caution you against doing this, however, given the manner in which unlicensed sites are the online betting equivalent of the Wild West. There is no guarantee that they will give you your money if you win, and you’ll have no recourse to claim the money back via legal means.
As Anonymous As You Can Be
There are ways that you can place bets online whilst maintaining a degree of anonymity, but it would be untrue to say that these methods are truly anonymous or don’t require at least some form of identification to be shown. Your first stop will be to register for a PaySafeCard or the likes, which can be purchased with cash and then used to upload funds to a betting account. In order to do so, however, you’ll need to register for a betting account with an online betting company and they will ask for some form of ID. It is worth pointing out that using this method does allow you to bet without a bank account.
Equally, you can pay cash over the counter in a betting shop that has an online presence, then use that cash to place your bets online. Once again, though, you’ll have to open an account with the betting shop in question and this will require you to give them a form of identification. That is not kept on file, however, and once you’ve done it you will then be able to bet as close to anonymously as possible. It’s not perfect, but it’s as close as you’re going to get in the modern era.
Betting companies all have to pass Know Your Customer requirements, which means that truly anonymous betting is an impossibility in this day and age. There’s nothing to fear from giving your information to the companies in question, though, and it is entirely secure to register your details in this manner. It’s also worth noting that you can opt out of receiving any marketing information from your betting company of choice, so you won’t receive any emails or post from them if you don’t want to. If you choose to close an account you also have the right to be forgotten and your data deleted with GDPR rules.