iovation’s Eddie Glenn: Using device intelligence to identify self-excluded players in real-time
iovation’s Eddie Glenn: Using device intelligence to identify self-excluded players in real-time
Eddie Glenn is the Product Marketing Manager for iovation, a provider of online fraud prevention and authentication solutions, and the company behind ‘Identifying Self-Excluded Players in Real Time’, a new webinar for the gambling industry (Tuesday 5 December).
He spoke to TotallyGaming.com about iovation playing its part in safeguarding the sports betting industry, going the extra mile to recognise self-excluded players, and placing a greater emphasis on device intelligence to prevent the onboarding of problem gamblers.
Totally Gaming: Hi Eddie, we’d like to begin by inviting you to briefly describe what it is you do, and what role iovation has to play in safeguarding the sports betting industry?
Eddie Glenn: iovation is a leading provider of online fraud prevention and authentication solutions. We help protect consumers’ online accounts from unauthorized access, and online fraud such as stolen identity, unauthorized purchases, multiple account creation/bonus abuse and stolen credit cards. We help protect online businesses from the ongoing onslaught of cybercriminal activity and attempts to defraud them through activities such as cheating.
There is a varying degree of risk for any online transaction that takes place. Online transactions can include activities such as opening a new account, placing a bet, or withdrawing or depositing funds into an account.
iovation’s fraud and authentication solutions are based on device intelligence technology and industry collaboration to help fight fraud at a global level. This unique approach does not require directly identifying and adds no friction to the overall user experience. With more than 13 years of experience and having processed more than 30B online transactions, iovation has a deep understanding of the kinds of device indicators that signal fraud. On average, we stop 300,000 fraudulent transactions every day.
iovation has a long history of working in the gambling industry, counting over 100 gambling operators and gambling platform providers as customers. While fraud is an issue for all companies, it’s especially critical for the gambling industry as a whole as their potential exposure to fraudulent losses are significantly greater than other industries. In addition, the gambling industry (both online and physical) frequently encounters some players who try to cheat.
iovation helps our gambling customers stop a variety of fraud and abuses including: new account fraud, bonus abuse and other forms of cheating, credit card fraud, license terms violations, and others. In recent years, we have also been able to help address the growing social responsibility concerns of gambling by providing a platform where individuals with a self-identified gambling problem can request that they be excluded from further gambling.
TG: You mention that iovation’s device intelligence is unique in how it recognises registered self-excluded players; can you explain how this goes beyond what is currently available in the industry?
EG: Today’s self-exclusion databases are built off of the player’s identity and maintained separately by the various gambling operators. A centralized database, such as GAMSTOP, can help address the issue where different unlinked databases makes it difficult to track self-excluded players across multiple online gambling businesses. However, these are still based off of the identities of the players.
There are two areas where this approach may be insufficient. Sometimes people with addictions will go to great lengths to work around the support mechanisms that they originally put into place. In this situation, a problem gambler may provide slightly different identifying information to a new gambling site to avoid being flagged as being a self-excluded player.
Maybe it is a different email address, phone number, birth year or slight name change. If that player loses, then, as we’ve seen in recent news, they may have a legitimate court case to recover those losses. In a more nefarious situation, a fraudster may intentionally do this in an attempt to later sue the gambling operator when they failed to stop him/her from gambling.
Device intelligence can provide an isolated, independent, and secondary means of identifying players who have previously self-excluded themselves. iovation can recognize any device that connects to the internet and when a player self-excludes with a gambling operator we tag that device as having been self-excluded. If any of our gambling customers then sees that device in the future, we notify our customer that this device has previously been associated with a self-exclusion event.
Furthermore, we are able to connect related devices together without need of personal information. For instance, if a self-excluded player used their home computer for their self-exclusion but then later tried to play a mobile sports betting game on their phone, we would be able to flag that device as well.
Because iovation is so widely used by today’s market leading gaming operators and platforms, our comprehensive database of devices marked for self-exclusion can even help in situations where a single business finds itself managing multiple platforms which may use different self-exclusion databases.
TG: Do you think that data from the National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme should be made available to fraud prevention and data screening solution providers such as iovation, to enable you to align your services on both a single operator and multi operator level?
EG: The National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme, now known as GAMSTOP, was designed as a single sign-on portal for problem gamblers to register and exclude themselves from all online gambling operators regulated by the Gambling Commission and have that data shared amongst all UK gambling operators. This is a great solution in concept, however, as long as this type of database is limited to just tracking a person’s name, address, and/or email, it is relatively easy for problem gamblers to work around it by providing alternative forms of this personal information (such as a new email address or varying the spelling of their name) or for instance, opening a new account under their spouse’s name.
So, while making this data available to fraud prevention and data screening providers might seem like a logical approach, an effective self-exclusion strategy would be less reliant on collecting and sharing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) — which carries its own potential liability impact due to GDPR and other data privacy regulations — and put a greater emphasis on device intelligence to more effectively identify a player attempting to sidestep this type of global registry.
TG: With Playtech buying BetBuddy, problem gambling screening and prevention is becoming more and more of an essential service to operators, and requires greater investment; do you anticipate a boom of creativity in this area to reflect this?
EG: As we have seen over the course of the past year, the Gambling Commission has levied substantial multi-million-pound fines on operators for not doing enough to protect ‘vulnerable customers’. Through these actions, the Commission is giving notice the gambling market as a whole that they will not hesitate to take punitive measures if necessary as a means to provide assurance to the general public that this market can be effectively regulated.
Responsible gaming will undoubtedly be a top priority for gambling operators in both the near and long-term future. Consequently, there will be no shortage of vendors who will be bringing new technologies and solutions to the market to help operators and platform providers address issues including screening of problem gamblers, age and identity verification, and ensuring fair game play.
Operators understand that they have a choice: they can either take proactive measures to address these issues themselves or wait for regulatory bodies such as the Gambling Commission to mandate new rules for them to follow. Clearly, operators would prefer the former, so we should expect to see a great deal more innovation and collaboration between operators in the coming years.
TG: Your product focuses on stopping ‘front door’ entry for players who have made previous self-exclusion declarations; how does this expand to ongoing KYC checks for your partners if any potential problem gamblers are able to slip the net at the onboarding stage?
EG: Like so many well intended regulations, people will often find ways to exploit them for their own benefit. Sadly, many problem gamblers have seen these new regulations to recoup their losses by saying they should never have been allowed to gamble on an operator’s site in the first place since they had already self-excluded — even though they might have taken evasive measures to create new accounts using false information.
Therefore, operators and platform providers are focusing their attention at the account creation and log-in point of the customer journey and where device intelligence shines since it does not rely on information provided by the player but rather on more complex and nuanced patterns that are significantly more challenging to disguise.
No system is perfect, and a problem gambler will find ways to play if they are determined enough. However, the operators who can demonstrate that they are proactively investing in these and other new technologies will likely avoid the wrath of regulators, not to mention the damage that bad publicity will have on their brand.
How can gambling operators protect both protect themselves as well as their customers? Sign up for ‘Identifying Self-Excluded Players in Real Time’ to learn:
- How device intelligence can be used to recognise devices and registered self-excluded players
- The impact that account and device associations can have in identifying self-excluded players
- The steps you should take to ensure that your business is compliant with regulations