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Age verification regulations demanding better compliance from businesses

“Youth is the hope of our future.” Jose Rizal 

It is no secret that the youth is a valuable asset and if not nourished properly it has the ability to negatively impact the future of a country. We can’t lose this valuable asset to unimpeded use of harmful products and services that affects their physical and mental health. Therefore, age verification regulations are implemented on the businesses. 

Due to the regulatory requirements, and lack of efficiency in manual verification, businesses are opting for next-generation age verification services, which are a fusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Intelligence (HI). 

These harmful products that may tarnish our future are alcohol, tobacco products, gaming/gambling, adult content, and even prescribed drugs. All these products are not new in society but the technical advancements and open internet access have exposed the youth to a lot of un-controlled avenues. This uncanny behavior of youth management has led to a devastating impact on youth. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that on average alcohol is the primary factor behind the deaths of 4,358 young people under age 21 each year. Nicotine consumption has also increased significantly, the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey stated that 5 million youth are using E-cigarettes, not to mention this number was 3.2 million in 2018. 

On the other hand, researchers have found that online video games affect the mental health of the children raising negative emotions in them such as vengeance and violation, which makes them socially isolated. 

These findings are pointing towards a bigger problem that could be controlled only with proactive risk prevention measures. That’s why regulatory authorities are in the bid to control this problem one way or the other. A few commonly used methods to control these risks include parental controls, alcohol education at schools, rehabilitation centers, setting age barriers on the sale and purchase of certain goods and services. 

Parents, retailer’s and online merchants selling age-restricted goods and services are the primary entities that can make a significant difference in controlling this huge problem. Parents can mitigate the risk with better parenting, as for the retailers and merchants, they can play their role by complying with age verification regulations. 

Businesses that are liable for Age Verification

  • Online gaming/gambling website 
  • Alcohol sellers
  • Nicotine and tobacco-based products sellers
  • Digital platforms
  • Prescribed drugs sellers 
  • Medical services providers 
  • E-commerce platforms selling age-restricted goods

Tobacco industry

Tobacco goods include a range of goods such as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes and e-liquids. 

The U.S has passed the law for age-restricted selling of all the above-mentioned products. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. 

Also, it’s illegal to sell nicotine products to people under 18 years of age in England and Wales. 

In Scotland, any person under the age of 18 years is prohibited to use or sell nicotine vapor products and tobacco, under the Nicotine Vapour Products (NVP) law implemented on 1st April 2017. The Scottish NVP law requires the businesses to require the buyers appearing to be younger than 25 to show their IDs. 

They are required to verify the IDs by matching the face on the ID card with the face of the customers. And also verify the age through the DOB on the Card. In case of doubt, the merchants can refuse the sale.

Alcohol 

Alcohol is reported to be one of the primary reasons behind the deaths of minors, as getting alcohol using fake ID cards is no more difficult. 

The legal drinking age in most countries is 18 years, with a few exceptions such as North America where the legal age for alcohol consumption varies from 18 to 20. 

In the U.S a person under the age of 21 is considered a minor with regard to alcohol consumption. Selling to these minors is prohibited as per the underage drinking policy of the United States. Non-compliance leads to monetary fines and penalties. 

The 21st Amendment to the Constitution allows each state to make their own laws regarding the sale and distribution of alcohol within their own borders

Digital platforms

The UK government is very considerate in protecting minors and keeping them away from harmful content and products.  It has recently implemented the digital Economy Act 2017, where certain online platforms are required to perform online age verification on their visitors. The UK is the first country to take such an initiative. 

Gambling

In the UK, the Gambling Act of 2005 is implemented. As per the law, onboarding and promoting the age-restricted products to minors (below 18 years of age) is prohibited. The gambling law is implemented on gambling, gaming websites, lotteries, betting, etc., while traditional games such as football pools and National Lotteries are exempted from this law, where the minimum age for verification is 16 years. And the reporting entities are required to incorporate robust age verification checks on their stakeholders, to reduce minor players’ exploitation on such platforms. 

The UK requires the gambling websites to at least verify the name, address, and age of their players before onboarding them.

In U.S also the minors below the age of 18 years are not allowed to gamble online platforms or the casinos. 

It is evident from the above discussion of age-verification regulations that it is mandatory for certain businesses to verify the age of their customers before selling them any goods or services. The general age threshold is 18 years in most of the regions, and ID card screening along with face verification are the preferred means for age verification. 

Age verification is more than regulatory compliance, it is the corporate social responsibility, and a future-oriented measure to ensure retainable growth. 

How Online Age Verification Solution Helps

An online age verification solution uses artificial intelligence to verify the age of a person through legal identity documents such as ID cards, passport, and driving license. It also uses face verification to ensure that the person presenting the ID card is its original owner and not an identity thief. This solution can verify the age of a person within seconds, providing seamless customer experience, so there is no fear of losing legitimate customers. 

To wrap up, age verification is vital and more than a regulatory obligation, it ensures growth without the fear of non-compliance fines, or fraud. Download age verification white paper for further knowledge on the significance of age verification for today’s business world.”