With more players opting for digital platforms for their gaming requirements, the online gambling sector has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years. Indeed, the market for online gambling was estimated to be worth a whopping USD 63.53 billion globally in 2022, and it is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 12%. While the growth of digital gaming is exciting for developers and players alike, it has also, regrettably, created new avenues for scammers and fraudsters.
The safety and trust of players are greatly threatened by online gambling fraud, which is a major cause for concern. Between 2019 and 2021, the rate of digital fraud in iGaming increased by 68.6% and in gambling by 29.4% worldwide. Fraud rates in iGaming and online gaming have increased despite efforts to stop this threat, seriously harming the industry’s brand and players’ faith. It is more important than ever for gambling websites to protect their business and customers from the damaging effects of online gaming fraud.
Online gambling fraud: what is it?
Within the digital gaming sector, there is a growing worry around online gambling fraud. It’s a general word that covers a wide range of dishonest practices meant to trick gullible users of online gambling sites and casinos. Fraudsters utilise a variety of strategies, including phishing efforts to get sensitive information, the creation of phoney websites that imitate reputable gaming platforms, and the use of digital currency or counterfeit credit cards.
While counterfeit currency fraud involves the deposit of fictitious or altered digital currencies into accounts, counterfeit credit card fraud is the use of stolen or duplicated cards to finance gaming accounts. Phishing efforts are also frequent, in which con artists send emails or messages purporting to be trustworthy organisations in an effort to fool people into disclosing their login information or personal information.
Another serious concern is fake websites. These websites are made to resemble real online casinos in order to trick users into making one-time money deposits that they will never get back. Some scammers even go so far as to manipulate slot games on these platforms such that users are never successful and always lose money.
Fraudsters have also been known to take advantage of the bonus programmes offered by reputable casinos, opening several accounts in order to continuously claim welcome bonuses or organising player collusion in order to rig games.
One well-known instance of internet gambling fraud involved the well-known online poker site Full Tilt Poker, which was shut down in 2011 when it was discovered to be operating a Ponzi scheme. The internet gambling business was greatly impacted by this crisis, which resulted in stricter rules and greater oversight to safeguard players.
Online gambling fraud has a significant negative effect on the sector, resulting in losses for operators and players alike, eroding confidence in online casinos, and possibly discouraging new players from joining. It’s an urgent problem that requires strict rules, strong security measures, and ongoing attention to tackle.
Why is there a higher chance of fraud on gambling platforms?
Although convenient and providing a wide range of gaming possibilities, the digital landscape of online gambling platforms sadly also increases the risk of fraud. These sites are particularly attractive to fraudsters due to their anonymity, lack of physical security, and challenges in tracking digital transactions. On these websites, scams can take many different forms, such as phishing attempts, identity theft, rigged games, and bonus abuses.
One important element that facilitates internet fraud is anonymity. The use of false identities by con artists makes it challenging for authorities to locate them. Online platforms are also more vulnerable to fraudulent activity since they lack the physical security features seen in traditional casinos, such as security guards and surveillance cameras. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to detect illegal activity because to the large number of transactions and cross-border nature of online gambling.
There are various measures you can implement to mitigate the risk of fraud and promote safer gaming. Only trustworthy gaming websites with strong security features, such SSL encryption and two-factor authentication, should be used by players. Phishing attempts can also be avoided by changing passwords on a regular basis and being cautious of unsolicited emails or messages that request personal information. Bonus abuse can also be prevented by being aware of the terms and conditions of bonus offers. By contacting authorities about suspicious activities, you can help combat fraud and ensure a safer online gambling environment for all.
How Does Online Gambling Get Affected by Fraud?
The online gambling business is facing substantial issues due to the growth in fraudulent activity that has coincided with its boom. Online gambling platforms are subject to a variety of fraudulent behaviours, including identity theft, payment fraud, bonus abuse, and the exploitation of several accounts to obtain unfair advantages. For example, identity theft occurs when criminals steal personal information from gamers in order to take control of their accounts, while payment fraud is the use of credit card details that have been stolen or faked digital currency to conduct illegal transactions.
These unethical behaviours have the potential to seriously harm online gambling firms’ reputations, resulting in a decline in player and potential consumer trust. An example of this is Full Tilt Poker, which was shut down but also caused the internet gambling sector to come under closer scrutiny and face stricter laws.
These dishonest practices may directly affect the profitability of the online gaming industry in addition to harming reputations. Due to the fake winnings that are handed out and the expenses involved in controlling and stopping these fraudulent activities, they cause financial losses.
Online casinos are investing in cutting-edge security systems to reduce these hazards. These include advanced algorithms to identify and stop questionable activity, two-factor authentication, and strong encryption technology. Furthermore, reducing the likelihood of fraud can be greatly aided by teaching players about safe online gambling procedures and how to spot possible con artists.
Different Types Of Online Gambling Fraud
Online gaming fraud can manifest itself in several ways, as previously discussed. It’s critical to be informed about the most popular techniques used in gambling fraud and to keep up with any new developments. You can take precautions against scammers by being aware of how they are likely to target you. The most popular methods include chargeback abuse, credit card fraud, and multiple account fraud.
Multiple Account Fraud
Multiple Account Fraud in online gambling, also known as multi-accounting, is a deceptive tactic where a single player creates numerous accounts on a gambling platform to gain an unfair advantage. The fraudster may use these multiple accounts to exploit sign-up bonuses or promotional offers repeatedly, which are typically meant for new users only. In games like poker, they might collude with themselves to cheat other players and manipulate the game’s outcome. In addition to violating the terms and regulations of the platform, this type of fraud has the potential to cause large financial losses for both reputable players and online gambling service providers. It also weakens confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the platform. Numerous online gaming sites use advanced detection techniques, including device fingerprinting, IP address tracking, and stringent identity verification procedures, to combat this.
Gnoming is the practice of a fraudster opening numerous accounts with a single online casino and then using those accounts to circumvent regulations. Maximum bet restrictions are common in online gambling, although fraudsters can circumvent these restrictions by using several accounts. This is noteworthy in light of the earlier example where a single fraudster controlled multiple poker hands. The fraudster can place a large wager on a hand they believe they have a good chance of winning since they are able to exceed maximum bet allowances.
Chip dumping is a popular kind of online poker fraud that is comparable to gnoming. Since fraudulent players have better chances of winning a hand when they control numerous accounts at a single poker table, they might increase the bets placed by honest players.
In an official game, a player’s money is forfeited. However, losing a hand to a player that fraudsters also control is practically the same as a bank transfer when they have numerous players.
For instance, the scammer may place a large wager on a hand that doesn’t have outstanding cards in order to entice honest players to place large wagers as well. They can also follow with a hand of strong cards, but since they aren’t raising the stakes, other players will see them differently.
This kind of game manipulation can seriously hurt other players’ chances of winning. Everyone should have an equal chance to win depending on the odds of the game; the aforementioned multi-accounting techniques reduce the likelihood that your honest players will enjoy themselves. This is a fundamental aspect of gambling.
The gambling platform will cover the cost of fraud in this case out of pocket. Bonus abuse is one of the more common types of online gambling scams wherein online casinos are exploited by offering incentives to new customers.
Coupons, discounts, or free money for your initial wager are examples of bonuses. These promotions aid in bringing in new players to gambling websites and might make you stand out from the competition in a cutthroat market. They do not, however, come without risk.
Fraudsters have the ability to create several accounts using various IP addresses, devices, or email addresses. Even though these bonuses don’t seem like much, they represent free money to the scammer and money you just wasted.
Credit Card Fraud
Internet gambling sites can be an excellent spot for fraudsters to spend the money on a credit card they have stolen. Opening an account, putting money, and cashing out right away can be all that is required.
In order to profit, other credit card fraudsters typically need some time to make transactions using credit cards that they have stolen and then resell the goods. Here, even if they lose a few hands of poker, they still leave with a lot more money than when they started.
For gambling websites, this presents a real risk because stolen credit card credentials are frequently purchased and sold on the dark web.
Customers who take advantage of a feature on their credit card that, ironically, shields them from fraud are committing chargeback fraud. A customer may start a chargeback gambling transaction if they have suffered significant financial loss. They can report their card was stolen or used without authorization by giving their bank or credit card issuer a call. Even if the online gambling website contests the facts, the bank may then immediately deduct their losses from the website’s bank account. In this example, the gambling website’s ability to demonstrate that it takes precautions to stop credit cards from being stolen supports its case.
How Can Retailers Stop Fraud Related to Online Gambling?
Because of its nature, online gambling will always attract scammers. Nonetheless, there are steps you can take to reduce the hazards associated with online gambling, and they can have a big impact. A common aspect that aids in preventing fraud related to online gambling is being aware of your clientele. When you do, users will not be able to create numerous profiles or use other people’s credit cards. Dispute attempts at chargeback fraud are another option.
There are various methods to accurately identify customers. Making strong passwords and two-factor authentication popular is a critical first step towards improving internet security. By providing an additional layer of security, this method greatly increases the difficulty for fraudsters trying to access other people’s accounts. Moreover, it is advantageous to establish identity verification services. These services guarantee that the account is being accessed by its legitimate owner by identifying and validating user data, such as IP addresses, email addresses, and geolocation. Finally, implementing sophisticated fraud prevention software can significantly strengthen security protocols. This software efficiently detects and raises alerts about users exhibiting suspicious activity by doing risk evaluations based on users’ browser behaviour. When combined, these tactics provide a strong barrier against fraudulent activity, protecting the platform and its users.
Browser fingerprinting is a major instrument in the fight against online fraud. Every user of your online application can have a digital fingerprint created for them, which records their browsing habits and behaviour over time. When a visitor utilises a VPN or switches to private browsing mode, browser fingerprints remain, making it possible for websites to identify and apprehend identity-thieving criminals.
Preventing multiple accounts is one advantageous use of browser fingerprinting for gaming websites. When a person logs into an account, their fingerprints are used to verify that they are only using one profile at a time. Fraudsters whose fingerprints have been linked to fraudulent conduct on your website in the past can also be prevented from ever logging in again.