With a number of exciting projects planned for 2021, Caroline Steele, Senior Client Director - Gaming at 1account, speaks to SiGMA News about how creating safe, secure, and easy-to-use age verification will be an essential part of the digital ecosystem going forward
Tell us about 1account, how did your journey get started?
1account was formed in 2018, in response to the planned Digital Economy Act, which was proposed by the UK Government. The Digital Economy Act set out significant changes to the way users access adult or age-restricted material online, requiring publishers to implement robust age verification before users could access such content. Here at 1account, we realised early on that safe, secure and easy-to-use age verification was going to be an essential part of the digital ecosystem going forward. We’d always intended that the benefits of our age verification technology would be rolled out to other verticals, but with the Digital Economy Act postponed, we recognised the wider demand and decided to rapidly open up this valuable service to other industries that require age verification. This includes gambling, vaping, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, weapons and much, much more.
For readers not yet familiar with your product, how does the process work?
In creating our product, we were adamant that we wanted to bring tangible benefits to a crowded marketplace. Many age verification providers charge their clients on a per-lookup basis and achieve success ratios between 60-80%. We wanted to do better than this, utilising more data sources than any of our competitors, to guarantee as many legitimate matches as possible - all in real-time. Some of our clients have seen upwards of 95% success ratios.
Best of all? Age verification is only the start. We’re working toward a global userbase and proprietary payment system for verified customers, who can create their own secure profile to easily register and spend across multiple age-restricted verticals. This means our age verification product is completely FREE to all approved affiliates and players, delivering more money on the bottom line for our clients.
In such a fast-changing regulatory landscape, what can affiliates do to ensure they comply with new legislation (such as the UKGC's decision on free-to-play)?
There is a global trend toward increased regulation across many of the age restricted industries. In gambling specifically, we’ve seen the credit card ban and the requirement for age verification on free-to-play games in recent years. Affiliates in the gambling space should be working closely with their relevant affiliate managers to stay ahead of the regulatory curve, and look out for potential changes to be resilient and agile, before they come into effect. Fines and penalties are significant and could have a catastrophic impact on businesses, so it’s important to remain fully compliant. Here at 1account, we work to a range of age verification levels which are pre-selected by individual businesses, to ensure that any checks we undertake on their behalf will fully satisfy any regulatory requirements, regardless of the vertical or jurisdiction.
How important is it to operators to work with affiliates who are compliant - what are the benefits?
The benefits are manifold. When affiliates age verify their players, they are able to send qualified traffic to the operators, which makes it quicker for them to onboard and allow players to deposit. Ultimately, this could create opportunities for affiliates to negotiate better commercial terms with their operator partners, particularly if the compliance legwork is conducted prior to conversion. We’ve also spoken to affiliates who value the additional data points that our solution provides, which enables a more transparent relationship across the complex relationships between operators, affiliates and players. In the current climate of increased scrutiny, operators will rightly insist on compliance and will not work with affiliates who could risk them their licence conditions.
How can 1account help ensure customer retention, what are the benefits for players?
The functionality of our age-verification solution also enables customers to create a single, online ID with 1account, which they can then use on any website that offers age-restricted products. It means players only need to register once, and can then simply sign in with one click. It makes it quicker and easier for consumers across a whole range of age-restricted verticals, while speeding up the verification and onboarding process for businesses or affiliates. These robust checks ensure the compliance of the broader gaming industry, which will help to allay increased regulator concerns over responsible gambling. In fact, the Malta Gaming Board have already expressed an interest in our industry-leading tool, and we are continuing discussions on how we can partner with key stakeholders to prevent youth access and improve compliance in a commercially-sustainable way.
What qualities does 1account have that make it stand out from the crowd?
As we mentioned before, the main benefits are that we offer lightning-fast checks in real-time, which means a quicker, slicker verification process that doesn’t interfere with the user journey. We also check more data sources than any other supplier, with our own exclusive data sources, which guarantees the best success ratios on the market.
Beyond 2020 - where is 1account heading in 2021, anything in the pipeline we should keep an eye out for?
We are continuing our exponential growth across the multiple verticals we mentioned, with a particular focusing on the gambling affiliates sector, to support them to acquire compliant traffic. We have already successfully integrated dozens of clients into our solution, most recently, SlotsCalendar. By 2021 we expect to have significant market penetration, which will benefit our clients and their customers, in iGaming and beyond. We are also developing a unique ‘phygital’ tool, that will allow consumers to verify their age in the physical world, as well as the digital environment.
Beyond that, we’ll be launching our unique payment system, that will integrate with all our technology and applications, enabling one-click payments for high risk transactions. Consumers will even be able to charge payments directly to their phone bill for the ultimate discretion.
SiGMA Americas and AIBC Digital Summit were launched with great success in the past week, pushing the shifting grounds of the gaming industry towards LatAm and discussing the current developments in digitalisation. In a first for SiGMA, both the gaming and the tech segments of the conference were offered in 3 languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
SiGMA will launch its next series of events in 2021, with SiGMA Europe headlining next year's calendar. Inaugural summits in Asia and Americas are also set to dominate the year, with SiGMA Asia launching in May 2021 and SiGMA Africa in 2022! Explore the full agenda here and register now!