In dialogue with Focus Gaming News, Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming, spoke about cryptocurrency, cybercrime and anti-fraud solutions EvenBet has developed.
Exclusive interview.- With online gaming on the rise, the surge in cryptocurrency in the industry and the lack of regulation, there are unlimited possibilities for fraud in online poker. Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming, talked to Focus Gaming News about his concerns on the matter and EvenBet’s anti-fraud solutions.
Your latest report on online poker fraud, reveals by 2020 the cost of global cybercrime reached over $1 trillion. What do you think is the key to handling this problem?
It’s simply logical that cybercrime is on the rise. As far as our financial activity goes online, digital access to money is becoming a more attractive target than cash or classic business and financial fraud types. The digital transformation is irreversible: in some countries like France, there even exists monthly limit for personal cash expenses. On the other hand, the surge in cryptocurrency creates new cybercrime types and threats.
To handle this in online gaming, we should find a strenuous compromise between strict regulation and conditions beneficial for running a business. Lack of regulation creates unlimited possibilities for fraud, but over-regulation that makes legally working companies quit the market leaves players unprotected and creates vast perspectives for black market operations which are not monitored. Unfortunately, many authorities tend to over-regulate the market or ban online gaming instead of looking for a compromise. It’s not an answer to a fraud issue.
Secondly, and that’s what some operators are doing now, the business needs to make an effort to educate the players on fraud types, the necessity of KYC and other procedures obligatory to secure the operations. The more users know about the reasons to provide their data, the more they are ready to do it.
“Lack of regulation creates unlimited possibilities for fraud, but over-regulation that makes legally working companies quit the market leaves players unprotected and creates vast perspectives for black market operations which are not monitored.”Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.
Do you think there are countries or markets more vulnerable to online poker frauds?
All the unregulated and under-regulated markets are exceptionally vulnerable. Especially the emerging ones: there are a lot of active players, and along with a growing number of legally working projects, a vast black market continues to exist. Where iGaming works illegally or in the shadows, the fraudsters are almost free to use it for their benefit. For example, in South and Latin America, there are a lot of criminal operations with cryptocurrency, in Asia and Africa, payment and identity frauds are very common.
How important is the regulation and legalization of online gambling when it comes to fighting this type of practice?
The regulation helps make gambling activity transparent. Even if we complain from time to time that everyone wants all our data, the legal demands for running gambling-related financial transactions are reasonable in most jurisdictions. But regulation has limited possibilities in fighting the fraud activities: in many cases, legal requirements on the data transparency work only to solve the crimes that have already been committed.
To prevent fraud, we need to use the technology not to give a single chance to fraudsters to perform transactions. That’s what the whole industry has been working on for years: payment operators on transaction protection, KYC solution creators on easy user verification, gaming platform developers on fraud detection systems, user management, and integration.
As technology evolves, scammers also manage to develop more sophisticated scams. How do you work to detect the different types of online poker fraud?
As gaming software developers, we are committed to creating algorithms and using machine learning to detect suspicious behaviour. Some cases are relatively simple, for example, identifying players using the same IP, device, or geolocation to prevent team play. The others are more complicated: detecting bots or preventing more sophisticated money laundering through online poker rooms.
What are the main anti-fraud solutions EvenBet has developed?
There are several levels of protection we are offering to our customers. First, it’s a fully protected secure server that prevents hacking both game logic and stored data. All the data exchange between the server and client software is also secured. Our partners can be sure that the information within the system is safe and protected.
Second, we have created our anti-fraud engine with a customisable action logic. For example, if the engine detects that there are players with the same IP at the same table, the operator may set up the default action to be taken: kicking them off and blocking the accounts, simply kicking off and notifying an administrator, creating an incident with a notification, etc. An operator may vary the score and the default actions to be taken for each type of suspicious behaviour.
Third, we allow operators to customise financial transaction rules and limits according to their needs. For example, they are free to set deposit and withdrawal limits for non-verified users or to demand manual confirmation for some transactions. Our team is always ready to guide an operator’s management team through all the possible settings and options; we pay a lot of attention to providing necessary documentation and educational materials.
Finally, we are constantly exploring further machine learning applications in online poker to create better behaviour analysis algorithms for our platform. We even have dedicated specialists working on this problem in our tech team. Soon, we expect to offer even better anti-fraud options for our customers.
“We are constantly exploring further machine learning applications in online poker to create better behaviour analysis algorithms for our platform.”Dmitry Starostenkov, CEO at EvenBet Gaming.