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The Big Game: perfect target for cybercriminals?

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In 2022, the BlackByte ransomware group published a 292MB file containing sensitive information from the San Francisco 49ers. Like teams, venues and vendors, bookmakers are also in danger as they handle a large volume of personal data in the run-up to major events, during the events themselves and in the aftermath.

With the Big Game coming up soon in the US, Sumsub, an all-in-one verification platform that secures the entire customer journey with customizable KYC, KYB, transaction monitoring and AML solutions, has outlined what to expect and how to avoid threats associated with major events.

Expected traffic increases

Last year’s Big Game registered more than 101 million viewers according to the Nielsen consultancy. American fans avidly continue to bet on major sporting events as more and more states legalize gambling following the removal of a federal ban. By the end of 2022, the online betting industry registered a growth of two billion dollars, driven by sports pools.

Based on its experience with traffic spikes at major sporting events, Sumsub expects to see a traffic increase of more than 83% at sportsbooks around the last game of the American football season.

“Though major sporting events attract much-desired traffic to betting platforms, cybercriminals and scammers increase in number as well, so bookmakers need to take extra care. Manual verification is not optimal because, with the increased user traffic, onboarding time grows accordingly, so the best choice would be to find a trusted all-in-one verification provider offering an advanced automated solution for KYC, AML and anti-fraud,” said Andrew Sever, co-founder and CEO of Sumsub.

As user traffic increases and verification takes longer, it can be tempting for betting platforms to cut some expenses. This is especially true for bookmakers used to performing manual verification, which can take more than 24 hours under normal circumstances and much longer during big events. Bookmakers know that if verification takes too long, users will go to the competition. As a result, they may be willing to sacrifice verification accuracy for speed.

However, this type of compromise inevitably leads to regulatory sanctions. For example, Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes, was fined £17 million ($20.6 million)—the largest ever fine in the UK—for failing to enforce player security and anti-money laundering measures.

Surge in fraud

Fraud is increasing in the gaming sector. In Q1 2022, fraud increased 50.1% compared to Q1 2021. There was also an 85% increase in fake account registrations compared to Q4 2021. The upcoming Big Game is expected to attract even more fraudsters.

The list of fraud schemes that bookmakers experience is extensive:

  • arbitrage betting

  • multiple accounts

  • identity theft

  • account takeover

  • money laundering

  • affiliate fraud

 

Cybersecurity threats

“Big sporting events and hacking go hand in hand and the bigger the event, the more threats there are. Attackers can be individual hacker groups looking to make a quick buck or politically oriented groups wanting to steal sensitive information,” added Andrew Sever.

Cyberattacks range from hacking into match broadcasts and security cameras to stealing the personal data of athletes, organizers and spectators. More attention needs to be paid to collecting and storing user data securely, as well as increasing the overall resistance of betting platforms to hackers.

Best ways to avoid threats while enjoying high traffic?

During major sporting events, the challenge for bookmakers is to onboard users without reducing approval rates, all while remaining AML (anti-money laundering) compliant and maintaining security.

The solution is to create an automated verification flow that allows users to easily onboard and go through extra checks only where and when it really matters. Below is a list of checks bookmakers can employ at each stage of the customer journey. There are also some suggestions on how to make this flow even more agile:

Request a minimum number of checks at the time of registration. When a user registers for the first time, platforms may limit verification procedures to collecting names and checking phone numbers or email. This way, the user becomes familiar with the service and is more motivated to go through the full verification procedure when he really wants to place a bet.

Deploy simplified checks when appropriate. For low-risk users, bookmakers can introduce a simplified check using a single document, as long as it contains identity and address information. This allows users to avoid uploading additional documents to verify their address, thus increasing approval rates.

Add additional checks when users make their first deposit. This could include bank card verification and facial biometric check to ensure that the true cardholder is making a deposit.

Introduce facial recognition to prevent fraud. Doing this at the onboarding stage combats multi-accounting. Adding biometric verification when users log in or recover their account ensures that fraudsters can’t hack it. And it’s often even more important to use it at the stage of withdrawal of funds, which is where more fraud tends to occur.

“Adding these checks to the flow reduces verification time and still ensures security. For example, Kaizen Gaming moved from manual verification to Sumsub’s automated solution, reduced their average onboarding time to 1 minute 39 seconds and increased its overall performance by 350%, all while eliminating fraud,” concluded Sever.

Discussion: networking event for gambling professionals in London

In partnership with Sardine, an  industry leading fraud prevention platform, Sumsub announced Gambling Pros Party, a private networking event for gambling professionals which will take place at Clays Canary Wharf, London on February 6, 2023 at 18:30 UK time. This event will be useful for experts, businesspeople and professionals working in the betting and gambling companies.

Participation is free of charge and for gambling professionals only. To save your seat, please register with your business email: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/520357091067/?discount=Sumsub

Gambling in the USA

Gaming Americas Weekly Roundup – March 13-19

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Welcome to our weekly roundup of American gambling news again! Here, we are going through the weekly highlights of the American gambling industry which include the latest news and new partnerships. Read on and get updated.

Latest News

Affinity Interactive (AI) announced that its affiliates have entered into a definitive agreement to sell Rail City Casino (Rail City) to affiliates of Truckee Gaming LLC (Truckee Gaming). The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

WynnBET, the online sports betting and casino app from the global leader in luxury hospitality, Wynn Resorts, announced that its online sports betting platform is live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Players can download WynnBET on the Apple and Google Play Stores or register for an account at www.wynnbet.com/ma.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced that Tom Mungham, its current registrar and chief executive officer, has decided to retire from his current roles this fall. Tom will continue in these roles while the Board conducts its search for the agency’s next Registrar and CEO and will remain to support a smooth transition until that individual begins.

Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and the State of California have entered into a Tribal-State gaming compact as announced by Governor Newsom’s office on March 9, 2023. This will replace the agreement signed in 2012. The new compact increases the number of authorised slot machines at Graton Resort & Casino from 3000 to 6000.

Tiidal Gaming Group announced that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tiidal Gaming Holdings, have entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with Entain Holdings (UK) Limited, pursuant to which Tiidal Holdings will sell all of the shares of the Company’s operating subsidiary, Tiidal Gaming NZ Limited (Sportsflare), to Entain.

Partnerships

Betplay has extended its partnership with Colombian football’s governing body Dimayor for a further six years. For the past three years, as a sponsor of Dimayor, the operator has held the naming rights to the body’s competitions, including the First Division (Betplay League), Second Division (Betplay Tournament), Colombia Cup (Betplay Cup), Super League and Women’s League.

The United Soccer League (USL) and global sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE have reached a new, long-term, expansive partnership to help the league grow its business globally. Under the agreement, SPORTFIVE will continue to secure key international media distribution partnerships across television and digital platforms for USL’s professional leagues, including the USL Championship and USL League One men’s competitions and the USL’s new professional women’s competition, the USL Super League, which will launch in August 2024.

Playtech has announced a landmark strategic partnership with Hard Rock Digital (HRD). Under the partnership, HRD will license a range of the company’s proven technology solutions and iGaming content to deliver the authentic experience customers have come to expect across Hard Rock’s global ecosystem of entertainment, hospitality and bricks and mortar casinos.

Elray Resources announced it has signed up its first operator, Maxibet Technology N.V., and is in the process of finalising the operator’s blockchain casino under the brand name Maxibet, licensed in Curaçao and to be operated globally.

Rush Street Gaming and Rivers Casino announced a partnership with MSC Cruises that grants Rush Reward Members at all Rivers Casino locations an annual cruise benefit that applies to most of the company’s sailings worldwide.

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Latest News

Symplify integrates Open AI into its Engagement Ecosystem

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Symplify, the Stockholm-based market leader in CRM and AI cloud solutions, has integrated Open AI into its Engagement Ecosystem to optimise client content creation.

Seamlessly utilising Open AI within Symplify’s platform will enable existing partners to create custom auto-generated content and imagery across all key marketing channels. The goal is to reduce content production times by up to 60% by providing a faster and more efficient solution for creating high-quality content.

A consistent issue facing clients is acting on the abundance of campaign and journey ideas, as the last stage of production can often be time-consuming. The Open AI integration allows users to easily generate text and images with a simple command within the Symplify Editor, while the copy can be refined and customised to suit specific needs. The resulting high-resolution images are entirely bespoke.

With the integration of Open AI, Symplify users can streamline their content production process, allowing them to focus on other critical aspects of their business.

Symplify’s CEO Robert Kimber said: “Symplify’s success is underpinned by our belief in futureproofing our partners’ businesses and by integrating Open AI into our Engagement Ecosystem we’re strengthening that commitment. By optimising the content development we’re helping grow our customers’ CRM strategies at scale, while offering multi communication channel coverage.”

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eSports

Team Top-G crowned champions of NESC 2023; become first ever Indian female CS:GO team to qualify for World Esports Championships

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Scripting history, team Top-G emerged as champions of the inaugural all-female CS:GO qualifiers with a stunning 2-1 victory against team Purr-ple at the ongoing National Esports Championships (NESC) 2023 organized by the Esports Federation of India (ESFI). Following this monumental result, Top-G has become the first Indian female CS:GO team to qualify for the global finals of the World Esports Championships (WEC).

With ace CS:GO athletes such as captain Swayambika Sachar (Sway), Shagufta Iqbal (xyaa), Nidhi Salekar (Stormyyy), Dilraj Kaur Matharu (COCO), Aastha Nangia (CrackShot) and Priyanka Choudhary (ALEXAA) as Substitute in their squad, Top-G proved their mettle against team Purr-ple in the closely-contested finals.

Expressing her feelings on the stellar victory, the team captain of Top-G, Swayambika ‘Sway’ Sachar said, “Winning the finals was an unreal feeling for all of us. We felt so many emotions before, after, and most importantly during the match and the adrenaline rush was on another level. Triumphing in this tournament and representing India on an international stage is a dream come true for all of us and we aim to prove on the world stage why we deserve this spot. We are grateful to ESFI for providing us with such an amazing opportunity and we truly appreciate the efforts put in by them to uplift women in Esports.”

Top-G dominated the first map by 16 -10 before Purr-ple made a stunning comeback to win the second map 16-14. While both teams were going toe-to-toe in the enthralling finals, Top-G utilized their effective teamwork and proficient attacking tactics to edge out their opponents and take the last map by 19-15 in overtime.

 “It gives us immense joy to see a female team representing India at the World Esports Championships for the first time in history. The electrifying finals were a testament to the ability that our country’s female athletes possess and why ESFI has constantly been taking significant efforts to provide them with opportunities to display their talent and high-quality gameplay. We would like to congratulate Top-G on their remarkable accomplishment and look forward to them winning at the regional & global finals in Romania,” said Vinod Tiwari, President of the Esports Federation of India.

The ESFI will now be organizing friendlies against distinguished CS:GO teams from other countries for team Top-G before their participation at the WEC 2023 which is scheduled to take place in Iasi, Romania.

With a whopping prize pool of $500,000 (INR 4.12 crore) and at least 130 countries participating, the 15th WEC is set to be the largest edition of the tournament to date. The global finals of the prestigious tournament will take place from August 24 – September 4, 2023.

One of the country’s top sports & Esports communication agencies, Artsmith-Concepts & Visions, will continue its support to the Esports Federation of India as their official communication partner.

The ongoing NESC is witnessing the participation of 275 athletes across four different titles – CS:GO, DOTA 2, Tekken7, and eFootball 2023 and its exciting action is being streamed live on ESFI’s Youtube, Facebook, and Glance Gaming channels.

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