Online gaming sites prevent underage gambling - Saturday 12th of March 2005

DataCash, the UK???s leading payment services provider, today announced that it has signed an agreement with BT to enable its customers to access BT???s identity verification service, URU(trade mark). The URUTM service will help DataCash customers to detect underage gambling, potential fraudulent activities, and also prepare for new money laundering and gambling legislation.

URUTM, which has been jointly developed by BT and GB Group, provides assurance as to the identity of an individual within seconds. The URUTM service works by asking a series of questions and checking the individual???s answers against national reference databases such as mortality, electricity, telephone and financial industry records and passport and driving license details. No personal data is disclosed by the reference databases: simply a ???match??? or ???no match??? report is returned. The service also provides an independent audit trail demonstrating that necessary checks have taken place.

By using URUTM, DataCash will be able to provide combined age, identity and fraud screening of credit cards and debit cards to all organisations using the company???s payment facilities. Gaming organisations will no longer rely solely on a customer???s debit or Solo card ??? some of which can be issued to children as young as 11 ??? as a means of proving identity and setting up an account. Because the URUTM service carries out these checks in real-time, legitimate customers will still be able to get online quickly.

Gavin Breeze, Business Development Director, DataCash, said: ???Identity fraud related crimes constitute the UK???s fastest growing criminal activity and look set to cost the country a staggering ??1.3 billion per annum. Because of the comprehensive online checks carried out via URUTM, this agreement will help to overcome the numerous loopholes found in current processes, which mainly rely on paper-based checks that can easily be forged.???

Paul Putland, URUTM product manager, BT said: ???The online gaming industry has a duty to protect children and prevent them from gambling, just as a traditional casino does. They have to take all reasonable steps to ensure that if someone is underage they are unable to place bets. Linking the URUTM service with DataCash???s payment service makes it simple for online gaming sites to implement all the necessary checks and makes it a very straightforward process for the end user.???

otes to Editors - The Gaming Industry in the UK
With casinos coming under the new Money Laundering Regulations, it is expected that the rest of the gaming industry will soon be governed by the same rules, as well as the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Gambling Bill will also give a new commission the power to conduct spot checks on websites to establish whether they admit underage gamblers.

According to a recent study by gambling charity GamCare, the potential for underage access to gambling opportunities on the internet and remotely via interactive TV and wireless technology is of great concern. The issue is amplified because of the growth of the internet gaming industry over the last few years, and the extensive and, at times, aggressive advertising of gambling opportunities.

It is estimated that there are at least 1,500 gaming and betting sites currently online, and adverts for these sites are now some of the most common on the internet. This has led to an increased exposure of gambling opportunities to all those that use the internet.

For some time now there has been speculation that the UK industry has not been taking the issue of underage access seriously. Tessa Jowell, the UK???s culture secretary, recently said, ???I am determined to see proper protection for children from the risks that all these sites present. The bookmakers need to do more, so do the banks.???

Bookmakers will be expected to conduct rigorous age verification checks or face fines of many tens of thousands of pounds. Jowell said that there was no excuse for the lapse because the technology existed to prevent it. Bookmakers have been warned to use age verification software instead of allowing customers to register using a Solo or debit card.

"It is completely unacceptable that gambling companies are prepared to play with the well-being of children," Miss Jowell said. "Those who avoid their responsibilities and leave children exposed to risk had better understand they are in the last chance saloon."
Ends

Press enquiries:

DataCash: 2thefore Ltd
Katie King/Glen Goldsmith on 0208 360 2442/01483 811234

BT: SPARX Group
Catherine Eyres / Alastair Turner on 01753 893000
catherine@sparxgroup.co.uk /alastair@sparxgroup.co.uk

About DataCash

DataCash is the only quoted payment solution provider in Europe and provides outsourced solutions for the authorisation, settlement and fraud management of credit and debit cards as well as direct debits, direct credits and cheques. All transactions are accessible to merchants through a real-time MIS Reporting Suite.

DataCash's fraud management solutions support industry initiatives such as AVS/CV2 and 3-D Secure's Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode as well as traditional, rules-based, fraud screening.

DataCash's solutions are suitable for merchants selling through any channel including High Street Point of Sale, the Web, Interactive TV, Kiosk, Call Centre and Interactive Voice Response ('IVR').

About BT

BT is one of the world???s leading providers of communications solutions serving customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Its principal activities include IT and networking services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services.

BT consists principally of three lines of business:

??? BT Retail, providing a comprehensive range of communications and related services to more than 20m UK consumers and businesses.

??? BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK to more than 600 fixed and mobile operators and service providers including the provision of broadband and private circuits.

??? BT Global Services, providing IT and networking services to meet the needs of multi-site organisations globally. BT Global Services operates in more than 130 countries and also offers international carrier services.

In the year ended 31 March 2004, BT Group???s turnover was ??18,519 million with profit before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and taxation of ??2,013 million.

BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.

For more information, visitwww.bt.com/aboutbt

About GB Group plc

GB Group plc provides a range of products and services to enable organisations to capitalise on one of their greatest asset ??? data. The company has expertise across a range of sectors and is able to transform customer data into valuable information, enabling clients to make better, more informed decisions.

Developing innovative software and services, through to the provision of the UK???s most comprehensive consumer business database - The National Authentication Database - positions GB Group at the forefront of this specialist area.

GB???s Data Authentication business helps organisations validate personal identity information and provides anti-fraud solutions for fight crime.

Previous press releases relating to GB???s identity fraud solutions are available atwww.gb.co.uk.
 

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