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How Gambling Registration Forms Can Meet Legal Requirements Without Compromising UX


Gambling website registration forms don’t just need to be designed with the user in mind, there are also important laws to be met.

The conditions of operating licences make the online customer acquisition process a UX challenge: meeting legal requirements while keeping the form as user-friendly as possible.

The Gambling Commission’s regulations are based on three key objectives: to keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that betting is conducted in a fair and open way, and that children and other vulnerable people should be protected from harm or exploitation.

In form design, facilitating the third one of these is a significant optimisation opportunity.

The legal requirement for “remote”, or online, gambling companies, to check the identity of everyone who wants to sign up and place a bet calls for an ID verification process that ensures:

  • every player meets the minimum age requirement of 18
  • existing players who have opted for self-exclusion (preventing themselves from logging-on to a specific site because of addiction concerns) aren’t trying to register under a false name
  • the identity of every player can be guaranteed, reducing the risk of money-laundering and other types of fraud

So how can gambling companies do this effectively without compromising the UX of their form and without alienating potential users into abandoning the process?

Asking the Delicate Date of Birth Question

In order to meet the regulations set by the Gambling Commission, gaming website operators must know that their customers are old enough and be able to confirm their identity. The regulatory body does not stipulate what information they should ask for to guarantee this.

However, most gambling companies choose to request a date of birth very early in the registration process because you must be over 18 to legally bet in the UK. It is not an optional field.

Requesting this personal information straightaway – and making it clear that is a required field by using an asterisk, for example – could make users question why you need to know and increase abandonment.

If they’re unaware of the age restriction law, using inline messaging to explain why it’s so important is a wise UX move.

For example, Betfair, who came third in our UX league table, adds an 18+ icon with a white background surrounded by a red circle alongside the date of birth field. Clicking on this reveals the following text in a pop-up box alongside the field:

“Betfair takes age verification seriously. You must be 18 or over to place bets with us. We may ask for information to verify your age and could restrict or suspend your account until your age is confirmed.”

Source: Betfair

Coral goes one step further. It also includes an 18+ symbol but has added a permanently-visible message directly underneath the date of birth field. This clearly highlights their legal obligations with the option to click on the symbol to read more about their responsible gambling policy.

Source: Coral

This simple, visually effective UX optimisation reassures users that sensitive information is required for a very good reason: it’s the law. They won’t be able to start betting unless they share it.

Verifying Your ID

Alongside date of birth, a user’s name and address is needed to complete ID verification and adhere to the laws set by the Gambling Commission.

This Know Your Customer (KYC) process confirms identity and therefore age, and helps to prevent money-laundering. It’s an unavoidable task but UX can help to make it run smoothly.

Minimising human error while inputting this data is key: naturally, it will reduce customer frustration at the time of completing the form but it will also improve their chances of being verified quickly.

With 72 hours to verify a new subscriber, during which time no gambling is permitted, the sooner a user is verified, the sooner they can start betting and the sooner your bottom line is boosted.

Quick electronic verification, based on accurate personal information, is the desired route for everyone. But mistakes within the form can make the process grind to a halt: you and your potential customer must then deal with the hassle of a failed verification.

Incorporating an address look-up tool, as William Hill and Mr Green do, will eliminate the typos possible when a user inputs it manually. This kind of inadvertent mistake will prevent automatic verification.

Address look-up is a straightforward design element that will increase the number of successful KYC approvals, as further checks and clarifications won’t need to be made, speeding up your customer acquisition rate.

Source: Mr Green Casino

If a verification fails once the user thinks that they’ve successfully completed the registration process, you’ll have a disgruntled customer on your hands.

They’ll have to submit documents such as a passport or driving licence to prove their identity, and sometimes provide evidence of their source of funds.

The Gambling Commission requires all licensees to regularly review their verification processes “as technology advances and as information improves” – which means keeping up-to-date with new UX optimisations is vital.

Making this essential element of the registration form as user-friendly as possible by seeking to minimise input errors is in everyone’s best interests.

Agreeing to T&Cs

Blindly ticking a box to confirm that you’ve read (or maybe not really read) sign-up terms and conditions is something we can likely all confess to.

Some gambling websites bypass the tick box completely and make agreeing to their T&Cs obligatory before progressing through the form.

For example, the first step of Betright’s form only asks for name, email, date of birth and gender. Clicking next after inputting these basic details binds you to their terms and conditions without having to tick a box.

Betfair uses a similar system: clicking “open account” automatically means you’re accepting their non-negotiable terms.

Betstars also prioritises rudimentary data capture before asking users to move onto a second, more detailed step. Their very short first step includes an agreement without a tick box: you can’t progress if you don’t agree.

This design immediately provides the company with user contact information without distracting customers with detail about their legal requirements and possibly making them leave the site.

Source: BetStars

At the other end of the sign-up scale, Vernon Sports, Bet365 and Grosvenor Sports all favour an info-heavy first step and the additional click of a T&Cs tick box, adding overwhelm and time to the process.

Source: Grosvenor Casinos

How are you tackling UX on your site? Online gambling now makes up 32% of all the entire UK industry, with the number of active accounts rising from 21.84 million in 2015/16 to 24.66 million in 2015/16.

Engaging this huge group of users right at the beginning of their online gambling journey through high quality usability and design will make your form a safe bet.