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Impact of COVID-19 on Virtual Gambling Sector: ConnectPay Calls to Fortify Payment Security as Industry Fraud on Rise

George Miller

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Impact of COVID-19 on Virtual Gambling Sector: ConnectPay Calls to Fortify Payment Security as Industry Fraud on Rise
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Online gambling has increased during the pandemic. Evidently, so did the illegal activity related to the industry. Scammers are abusing the vulnerability of the circumstances, which is reflected by the rise in financial fraud and exploitation schemes. ConnectPay, an online banking service provider, encourages businesses, especially the ones considered to be higher-risk, to make the security of payment transactions their top priority in order to build trust with new and existing clients, and protect them from falling victim to fraudulent payments.

Illicit activity concerning monetary transactions has been a long-standing issue for the virtual gaming industry even prior to the pandemic, with financial crime estimated to be at $2.1 trillion per annum. That said, the COVID-19 crisis has brought new challenges as new fraud schemes started to plague various markets. This has influenced some countries, fearing an increase of illicit activity in online gambling, to issue tighter measures for the vendors to protect consumers during the lockdown.

“The increased online gambling sessions correlate with the noticeable jump in payment transactions”, explained Liutauras Varanavičius, Head of Business Development at ConnectPay. “When comparing data from January with the stats from April, we have noticed a 30% increase in gambling-related transactions. Even though it’s hard to predict how prolonged will the aftermath of the pandemic be, the necessity of instating more precautionary measures to support secure payments is too apparent to be left unaddressed.”

The surge of online gambling activity has greatly increased the public’s exposure to digital risks. While others are capitalizing on the crisis, businesses have to face the conundrum on how to disassociate from the perpetrators, remain credible and retain their target audience.

“The spike in fraudulent financial activity could hit the sector even harder than others: it’s already under a magnifying glass due to the nature of acquired revenue, thus any association with financial fraud could be leveraged as a pretext to revoke acquired licenses and restrict business”, said L. Varanavičius.

As the global health crisis continues, the need for reliable security measures and prevention of illicit financial flows will only continue to grow. Implementing timely and adequately prepared safeguards to combat arising threats is paramount, as, until brick-and-mortar casinos are once again operational, gambling industry relies on digital-only vendors.

Preserving secure payment transactions could be the difference between remaining operational or having to close up shop. The pandemic has already hampered AML supervision and presented new threats that could aid criminals in avoiding customer due diligence. However, having acknowledged current obstacles enables businesses to evaluate measures that would help avoid being juxtaposed with illicit activity and choose partnerships accordingly.

To keep the scammers at bay, ConnectPay continuously invests in innovative fraud prevention solutions, latest AML safeguards and other smart tools, helping companies in underserved markets to maintain credibility and keep the associated risks to the bare minimum. Furthermore, the company places high emphasis on a thorough screening process: this prevents taking on clients involved in unethical business practices, limiting the grounds for financial fraud. In 2020, ConnectPay is planning to invest additional 750 thousand euros in Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism compliance solutions.

Industry News

Melco Appoints Grant Johnson as New Head of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Melco Appoints Grant Johnson as New Head of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos
Photo Source: cypruscasinos.com
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Melco Resorts and Entertainment has promoted Grant Johnson as the Senior Vice President and Property General Manager of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos “C2”. Johnson will report to Evan Andrew Winkler, President of Melco.

Johnson is responsible for the continued development of the upcoming City of Dreams Mediterranean which will be the largest Integrated Resort (IR) in Europe and the management and operations of Cyprus Casinos. Mr. Craig Ballantyne, Property President of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos, retired on April 1.

“Congratulations to Grant Johnson on his new appointment. With his proven track record of delivering growth for the company I am confident that we can continue pushing boundaries as a global leader in innovative luxury entertainment offerings. This promotion represents Melco’s commitment to internal career opportunities. I also wish to thank Mr. Craig Ballantyne for his outstanding service to Melco as Property President of City of Dreams Mediterranean and Cyprus Casinos and wish him the very best for his retirement,” Lawrence Ho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco, said.

Prior to this promotion, Johnson was SVP, Casino Sales, Marketing & Operations at Studio City in Macau, and previously was SVP, Casino Sales & Marketing for Altira Macau and Mocha Clubs. Prior to this, Johnson handled various non-gaming marketing roles throughout Melco properties in Macau. Johnson began his career with Melco in 2011.

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Industry News

Zimpler Announces Expansion to the EU and the UK

Niji Narayan

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Zimpler Announces Expansion to the EU and the UK
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Fintech company Zimpler has announced its expansion into the EU and the UK.

Zimpler is a Swedish Fintech company that manages transactions between end users and businesses. Now, they leave the Nordics and will enable companies to do instant payouts to customers in the EU and UK within the year.

“Payouts is medieval outside of the Nordics. Today you will have to wait for days before you get your money into your bank account, with our solution it will take seconds,” Jonas Persson, VP sales at Zimpler, said.

First to go live with the solution is iGaming company Videoslots.

“We have been working with Zimpler in the Swedish market for many years and we are thrilled with how constructive and solution-oriented they are in all situations. That they now expand their solution to other European markets is fantastic news and it will change the market at its core,” Ali Atam, CMO at Videoslots, said.

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Industry News

Gauselmann Group Opens New Venues in UK

Niji Narayan

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Gauselmann Group Opens New Venues in UK
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German gambling company Gauselmann group has gone one step further by investing in the high street and launching its Merkur Slots brand nationally. The company has opened three brand-new venues in Southall, Hornchurch and Lancaster on July 4.

Gauselmann group plans to open many more Merkur Slots venues across the UK this year. The company will open with three more venues in Saltash, Bolton and Wolverhampton, this month.

“This is a very exciting time for the Merkur Slots brand. So many companies haven’t survived the effects of the pandemic and we are delighted to be able to give customers a brand-new experience in locations where we don’t currently have a presence. It means a lot to us to be part of kick-starting the high street again and supporting the local community with new job opportunities,” Mark Schertle, COO of Gauselmann group, said.

Merkur Slots provides the latest in digital venues. All machines and advertising are fully digitised and customers will be able to enjoy all of their favourite games, as well as the latest in Blueprint games.

All venues will be COVID-secure, with Gauselmann group implementing an “Open, clean, safe” campaign which will focus heavily on ensuring new safety precautions are in-place and everything is communicated effectively with customers, via social channels and the official website.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back to gaming after a small hiatus and we feel we have a unique edge in that we can offer them brand-new, modern venues that have been designed with social distancing in mind. Customers can game with total confidence. Thank you to all our staff who have worked tirelessly to get the venues up and running ahead of opening,” Schertle said.

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