Minors and Online Casinos
Many parents are concerned about their children getting ahold of their credit cards and gambling away the mortgage. Fortunately, online casinos and credit card companies have specific measures to deal with this potential problem. However, remember that the best solution is to be aware of your credit cards whereabouts at all times, and if you currently gamble at an online casino, ensure that you keep your account username and password well hidden from the kids.
Below are answers to the two most common concerns regarding minors and online gambling.
How do online casinos currently prohibit minors from gambling on the internet?
Clearly, online casino operators have an interest in screening minors out from gaming activities, as gambling debts incurred by minors are uncollectable in the United States. However, the mechanisms vary from site to site. Many require the use of credit cards, since any extension of credit generally requires that the prospective debtor be of the age of majority.
Some use credit reporting databases to match taxpayer identification numbers with credit cards to verify that the credit card submitted matches the true identity of the bettor.
Others require that the applicant fax or present copies of birth certificates, drivers licenses, and/or other identity documents before processing any transactions.
Regardless of the type of identity checks used, most sites require the posting of a significant amount (often a $1,000 minimum) in a wagering account to begin. Such large up-front deposits function not only to screen out minors, but to eliminate those who are less capable of sustaining losses from the betting pool as well.
In addition, businesses are springing up whose sole purpose is to verify the age or identity of an internet user. These adult verification services provide operators with an assurance that a user is who he says he is.
What can be done to keep minors from using their parents' credit cards without authorization?
Under federal law, consumers are not liable for more than $50 when their credit cards have been used without their permission, even if the transaction in question is initiated by the consumer's own child.
If a child does steal a consumer's credit card and is, in fact, able to circumvent the security procedures designed to keep minors out of online gaming sites, all the consumer has to do is explain the situation to his or her credit card company, and he or she will not be held liable for those charges.
Equally important, gambling debts as well as contractual obligations are unenforceable under most state laws. So even if a minor gets past the screening process, any debts incurred would be uncollectable by either the credit card companies or the casinos themselves. Thus, both the online casino and the credit card company have strong incentives to verify the actual identity of those engaging in any online transaction in order to minimize their own exposure to liability.