At ICE North America 2019 in Boston MA, Husayn Kussai, CEO and Co-Founder of Onfido (an iovation partner), spoke with iovation’s Andrew Goss about the emerging sports betting market in the United States. Emerging priorities include improving customer experience, and managing access from problem gamblers.

Read the full blog for another insightful interview with one of the longest-standing gambling reporters, Casino Journal Editor Paul Doocey.

Download the 2019 iovation Gambling Industry Report for more on trends and insights into the online gambling market.

Read the Full Transcript

Andrew Goss: (00:03)
We're here at ICE North America 2019. Here with Husayn, CEO with Onfido. Husayn, what are the big themes of the conference this year?

Husayn Kassi: (00:15)
One of them is how iGaming is becoming a bigger deal in the US just the way in Europe it's established and growing. It's just starting out in the States. A second is regulators, especially in different states, formulating a view as how to regulate effectively. There are a few things emerging.

Husayn Kassi: (00:33)
One is to consider skilled gaming like poker. Making a distinction between that and chance-gaming such as betting on sports, for instance, so that's good to see.

Husayn Kassi: (00:46)
Thirdly, another emerging trend is how do you stop bad actors? First of all, how do you ensure that the vast majority of the good actors are easily and in a frictionless way able to access and play? Then how do you get effective at stopping the [inaudible 00:00:59] of bad actors at sort of spoiling it for everyone either by laundering money or other things?

Andrew Goss: (01:06)
You're obviously very active in the European gambling market. Things have matured over there, right? What can you tell us about the lessons learned over in Europe and how to transfer that over to the US?

Husayn Kassi: (01:23)
One of the things that successful fast-scaling platforms have been able to achieve is that they are putting the customer experience at the front and center of everything that they do. That has been good to see, and it's improving. Another key trend is that they're focusing on becoming effective at not necessarily just stopping bad actors, but also stopping problem gamblers for instance.

Husayn Kassi: (01:46)
There's an issue whereby in this industry, you have a couple of issues. Underage people playing where they really shouldn't be, so to have robust processes to prevent 14 and 13-year-olds gambling for instance. A second is that on a Friday, if someone is addicted to gaming, they might opt out of wanting to play, but they currently only need to enter just an email address. Then the next week on a Monday or Tuesday, they might change their mind, go and sign up again, but with another email address.

Husayn Kassi: (02:15)
What is starting to happen is a more robust way to capture that. When the person on the Friday registers just to say, "I want to opt out for three months or so." They would also provide a face photo. So that on the Monday or Tuesday, if they want to go back and renege on their own commitments on stopping, that could be flagged. They could be sort of stopped, so that they can commit to the full three months of not being a player. That's happened in Japan and Saudi, starting to happen in Europe which is really good to see.

Andrew Goss: (02:44)
Can you tell us a little bit about what Onfido does?

Husayn Kassi: (02:47)
We help about 1,500 businesses verify the government's ID and the facial biometrics of the customers that they're onboarding. If you're an online banker on an online gaming platform, for instance, as your users are registering and signing up on a smart phone or on the computer, at the registration process they're asked to show their ID and show their face.

Husayn Kassi: (03:06)
We verify that that ID seems genuine, and it's not fake. That the photo on the ID matches the person's face. In the gaming space, it would prevent say someone's flat-mate or cousin, a 12 or 13-year-old, stealing their ID and trying to sign up to play.

Andrew Goss: (03:20)
Tell us a little bit about the partnership between iovation and Onfido and especially in the gambling space.

Husayn Kassi: (03:25)
Of course, so there is a clear, complimentary components of when the person is verified and signs up. Then on an ongoing basis, monitoring and tracking and seeing whether they are potentially committing anything that suggests it might be risky or not. As you know, we're a strong partner, and we've worked together on quite a few different engagements.

Husayn Kassi: (03:46)
It's another advantage of us, both as being in the digital space, and iGaming and how that is different to more in the physical world. In the physical world, there isn't as much data points. There is this misconception that if you go online and you go digital, fraud will increase.

Husayn Kassi: (04:03)
There may be a tendency for more fraud to still be attracted online, but you also have a lot more digital data points and footprints. That can help track behaviors and actually become more effective at stopping bad actors online not necessarily less effective. That's good to see in the iGaming space more generally.

Andrew Goss: (04:18)
How does Onfido and iovation work together?

Husayn Kassi: (04:21)
Sure. In specific ways of how Onfido and iovation will partner, it's if we've helped a customer sign up, then that business is also partnering and using yourselves as iovation. A week or two or three weeks later, if there is a suspicion that this individual either has had an account takeover or they're doing something that isn't the norm, then that business can also double-check or trigger another check by us. Be it a facial check or another ID check to ensure it's the same person. That's an example of how businesses are increasingly using us together.