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How gambling operators can protect themselves against the growing risk of cyberattacks



new report from TransUnion found that the focus of cybercriminals is shifting from the financial services sector to gaming and gambling, as well as leisure. This requires swift action from operators to fight fraud in the gambling and gaming industry.

The US-based consumer credit reporting agency looked at data for the first six months of 2021. It found that reports of digital fraud attempts increased by 16.5% globally when compared to Q2 of 2020. But when it came to the gaming and gambling industry, digital fraud attempts skyrocketed by 393% compared with the last year. This is a significant warning shot for those operating in the sector.

Shai Cohen, Senior Vice President at Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion, said:

“Fraudsters tend to seek out industries that may be seeing immense growth in transactions…The immense growth in gaming fraud can be attributed to the shift in focus of fraudsters as this growing market becomes a larger target.”

In recent years, the online gambling sector has witnessed extraordinary growth. It was also one of the few that emerged from 2020 relatively unscathed. Current predictions suggest that the online gambling sector is growing at between 11-13.5% per year and will surpass $27 billion in global revenue in the next five years. It’s not hard to see why this is an attractive prospect for fraudsters. So, what can you, as an operator, do to stay one step ahead of the game?

Secure your site

Ensuring your site and app, if applicable, is secure will prevent theft of data, card details, and other sensitive information. As a standard, you need SSL encryption which protects data as it’s exchanged between the user and you. If possible, you can also investigate more advanced forms of encryption, including specialist software. 

Of course, these come at a price. But it’s important to remember that consumers are more likely to gamble with you if they see your site is safe and protected. Lack of trust in a platform is one of the main reasons for players not choosing a particular platform.

Be compliant

Some operators approach compliance as a burden, but this shouldn’t be the case. When used and abided properly, compliance can be a primary weapon in your arsenal. The purpose of compliance is not just to take up your time and keep regulators happy; it’s to protect both you and your customers. 

Compliance covers fairness, responsible gambling, onboarding processes, payments, local laws, and international regulations. It also often includes best practices that can make your business more sound and secure. The rules you will need to stick to vary between jurisdictions, so you should always consult with an experienced corporate service provider to ensure you’ve got everything covered.

Consider biometrics

Thanks to advancing technology and the increased use of smartphones, biometrics has become a viable option for securing access. You can also verify players and account holders. 

Going beyond simple 2FA authentication (which you should employ as well), biometric identification requires a fingerprint, iris scan, facial scan, or voice command to grant authentication. This can stop hacking, illegal account usage, and issues with payment fraud. When using biometric technology, it’s essential to ensure the data is secure and not hackable by a third party.

Utilize AI

Artificial intelligence has transcended sci-fi and is now being used widely in various forms and industries. It has found a variety of use cases in the anti-fraud sector as well as gambling. For example, AI can capture documents and inputted data during the onboarding process, analyze it, and ask for more if required. It can also answer simple questions that players might have along the way. The beauty of AI is that it isn’t prone to human error, bias, or the potential for corruption. This is important when it comes to verifying account holders.

AI can also be used for compliance purposes. It can monitor suspicious transactions, detect worrying behaviour and analyze other patterns in player behaviour. But always be sure the AI software you use is in harmony with the requirements of your regulator. 

Look to the blockchain

Blockchain was developed initially to power bitcoin, but it’s taken a life of its own in the last few years. It is now presenting solutions to a myriad of different business areas, including the gambling sector. Payments made on the blockchain are immutable, meaning information cannot be hacked, reversed, deleted, or otherwise tampered with. While blockchain fraud isn’t impossible, it’s much less risky than conventional transactions. 

These are just some of the tools available to those looking to take security seriously. As the statistics show, gaming, gambling and leisure are increasingly at risk from fraud and cybercrime; therefore, you must be prepared. After all, if a consumer doesn’t feel safe using your services, they will likely look elsewhere. Investing in fraud prevention and compliance is an investment in your company’s future. 

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