Taking advantage of free money has long been a go-to strategy for fraudsters in the online gaming world. That is, until now.

Free money sounds good, right? Of course it does. That’s why online gaming sites have offered bonuses for years. From “welcome” bonuses to “reload” or cashback bonuses, they are a proven promotional tactic designed to attract new players and boost engagement with existing players. However, gaming fraudsters can sniff out free money in no time, and it didn’t take them long to pounce on bonus offerings from online gaming operators.

As you might expect, bonus abuse is widespread in the online gaming world, and has led to devastating losses for online casino sites over the years. Bonus abuse rings, which are more often than not run by well-organized groups, often collect bonus cash from hundreds of accounts at a time. When they do, the losses can add up lightning-fast.

Of course, there’s nothing gaming operators dislike more than losing their money to crooks, so most have already implemented some form of security, such as credit and identity checks, to verify the identity of players in an effort to minimize bonus abuse and other forms of gaming fraud. Still, since bonus abusers were largely not being met with strong, two-factor customer authentication, they were still finding ways to cheat – and beat – the system.

One of iovation’s gaming clients, WagerWorks, which later was acquired by IGT, found itself right in the thick of it, and was working hard to resolve the bonus abuse problem. However, while their fraud team was able to identify patterns of behavior on the accounts owned by players running bonus schemes, they were unable to prove that all the accounts were linked.

Crystian Terry, WagerWorks’ Director of Casino Operations, summed it up best: “We had this huge suspicion that we were being cheated, and we knew we were dealing with a large group of accounts being operated by a small number of individuals, but we just couldn’t prove it. We had to find another way to crack down on the group.”

Game On

This is where device reputation comes into play as the key to solving the bonus abuse problem. Simply put, iovation enables online gaming operators to identify the device a player uses to activate his/her account.

Using device recognition and reputation analysis, WagerWorks was able to repeatedly recognize the devices its players were using to access their properties. When combined with identifying players’ fraud and abuse histories, the relationships between multiple accounts became obvious, making it easy for the gaming operator to shut them down and shut them out. Now that's what we call playing to win!

Be sure to read the full WagerWorks case study to get all the juicy details about how they fixed their bonus abuse problem quickly, which saved them BIG in the end.

Also, iovation will be speaking and exhibiting at ICE Totally Gaming in London, February 2-4 at booth #N7-538. Come see us and hear how we’re helping gaming operators leverage a device-based approach for authenticating players.