Top 5 Types Of Fraud In Online Gambling
While exact revenues are difficult to measure, it is estimated that in 2010 online gambling generated nearly $30 billion in revenues, which was nearly double what it was estimated to have generated just four years earlier. If anything, revenues are estimated as being even higher today. Any industry that has that much money running through it, however, also becomes a prime target for thieves and fraudsters looking to get a piece of the pie. In some ways, online gaming is immune to some of the more common tactics used by fraudsters in physical casinos but there is no shortage of ways for cybercriminals and fraudsters to game the system. Here are the top five types of fraud in online gambling.
- Bonus Abuse
While exact numbers are again somewhat hard to come by, it is estimated that there are somewhere around 2,000 online gambling sites all competing for customers just like any other business. In order to attract and maintain customers, many online casinos will offer different types of bonuses. Some of these bonuses can include sign-up bonuses, referral bonuses, bonuses to frequent players or to attract a player back to the site.
Sometimes the casino will simply give the player a "free" bonus, while in other cases, they will match a certain percentage of a player's initial deposit. For instance, they might offer a player a free $50 signup bonus or a 10% match bonus. In the case of a 10% match bonus, if a player makes an initial deposit of $1,000, then they would receive a $100 bonus. Most casinos attach rollover requirements to the bonus, which means the player has to bet the amount of the bonus a certain number of times in order to be able to withdraw the bonus. So, for example, if the casino had a 3X rollover requirement, then that means the player would need to make $300 in bets or three times the amount of the bonus in order to withdraw the bonus amount.
One way that players commit bonus abuse is by signing up for multiple accounts in order to receive multiple bonuses. Once they receive the bonus, however, they still have to bet the bonus amount a certain number of times in order to withdraw the bonus. Generally, the way they do that is through collusion.
Collusion is when two or more players work together to manipulate a certain outcome or a single individual uses multiple accounts to accomplish the same thing. Online poker is the most popular target of collusion schemes, but it can also occur in other card games like Blackjack as well. Sometimes players will collude in order to commit bonus fraud. For instance, if two players sign up and make a $500 deposit in order to get a $50 signup bonus, then they can both simply lose to each other until they have met the rollover requirements. Once the requirements have been met, they can both cash out and each walks away $50 richer. In some cases, they may simply open a new account and start all over. Other times, collusion can occur as a way to walk away with a large pot in a poker tournament. Players can even self-collude by signing up for two or more accounts, then using one account to lose to another.
- Chip Dumping
Chip dumping is another form of collusion, but generally for a different reason. Online casinos are sometimes used by criminal elements to launder money or to pay for black market services. Since gambling winnings are considered legal earnings, they can be deposited in a bank and even claimed on taxes. Criminals that receive large sums of money for illegal enterprises can't just walk down to the bank and deposit their income without raising suspicion. Instead, they hire people to gamble online and all lose to one person. That person then cashes out and the money can then be shown as legally earned. In other cases, chip dumping is a way to pay for illegal or black market services. For instance, a buyer may be given instructions to sign up for an account at a certain casino, then lose a certain amount of money to a certain online player. Once they have lost the given amount of money to that player, the player can then cash out and have legal earnings to show for their work.
- Chargeback Abuse
Sometimes referred to as "friendly fraud," chargeback abuse occurs when a legitimate account holder will contact their bank or card issuer and deny making a charge to an online gambling site. Since many online gambling establishments are located overseas or may not even be registered businesses, the card company will most often reverse the charges, leaving the casino holding the bag. The gaming establishment can fight the charges but if they get too many chargebacks, they can seriously damage their relationship with major card issuers. Losing the ability to accept credit card payments from a major issuer can essentially cost them their business. In most cases, it is more cost-effective to just swallow the loss than fight it.
- Credit Card Fraud
With the number of high profile data breaches rising, financial data and credit card information are becoming all-too-easy to come by. Actually monetizing that information, however, is a different story. Some cybercriminals may use stolen credit card information to purchase gift cards or other luxury items, which they can turn around and sell but the profit to be gained by those means is small potatoes in comparison to the potential online casinos offer. This is particularly true with the rise of cryptocurrencies. Most cryptocurrency exchanges do not allow users to purchase bitcoin with credit or debit cards specifically because of chargeback abuse. A stolen credit card can be used to top up an online casino account, however, and then withdrawn in the form of bitcoin.
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