Why Cyber Security plays a crucial role in the Online Casino Industry

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Why Cyber Security plays a crucial role in the Online Casino Industry

In 2020, combating, preventing and reducing the impact of cybercrime and online fraud is of paramount importance to every online industry, but especially the iGaming industry (which incorporates online casino and poker gaming, and real money betting and competition).

Hackers are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, utilising tools and incorporating advanced methods like social phishing in an attempt to breach data and online security protocols. Which is why now, more than ever, effective cyber security has a crucial role to play in the continued growth and success of this innovative online gaming industry. 

A multi-billion dollar, global industry

iGaming has grown exponentially over the past decade, to the point where it is now a fully globalised industry generating billions of dollars in revenue every year. 

In the UK alone, online casinos, poker platforms, wagering platforms, and lottery competitions account for just under 40% of the total revenues generated by the real money gaming market in the country. Globally, iGaming has been predicted to reach as much as $84.75 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 8.77% over a five year period. However, the recent expansion of the US iGaming market could push that figure into hundreds of millions within five years. 

Currently, the US iGaming legislation framework limits the number of states that can operate real money casinos within their boundaries, but more states are intending to apply for gaming licences within the 2020-21 legislative session. 

More than just a website

Numerous factors go into developing and operating an online casino, meaning that they have many more components than a standard business or eCommerce website. Extensive databases containing customer data, gaming software, live gaming feeds, mobile apps, advanced tech like Virtual Reality and AI chatbots, payment gateways, sign up forms, user interfaces, and written, visual and audio content are all some of the things that make up an online gaming platform. They are also all potential opportunities for hackers and online fraudsters, so online casino operators need to ensure that each and every operation on their sites is secure and protected. 

Additionally, despite being licensed by a jurisdiction like the Malta Gaming Authority or the UK Gambling Commission, some platforms will operate in multiple territories, meaning that operators can’t always verify the security of their incoming traffic. 

As well as protecting financial information and customer data, online casinos also need to be protected from one of the latest trends in cybercrime - Distributed Denial of Service attacks. DDoS attacks render a website or its functions or applications completely unusable by flooding it with traffic, meaning that the real customers are unable to access or use sections of the site. Even a DDoS attack lasting a few seconds on something like a slots game can generate serious disruptions, as around 60% of the online casinos are real time platforms. 

How operators are protecting their customers and their platforms

So what are the methods that casino operators are using to ensure their customers are safe, and that their platforms are as secure as possible? 

Data encryption

This remains one of the most prevalent and effective forms of cybersecurity for online casinos, particularly when it comes to securing the vast amount of personal and financial data operators that platforms typically process. Operators will use different types of data encryption when building their platforms, often integrating a combination of

  • HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to the casino website 
  • SSL (Secure sockets layer) and End-to-end encryption to pages and functions

Data encryption scrambles any data entered onto a page or form, turning it into complex code that can only be read by the intended recipient. 

Gaming licences

Licences granted by bodies like the UKGC, Malta Gaming Authority and the Gibraltar Gambling Commission and Authority ensure that a platform has met and adheres to the highest standards of player protection. 

Privacy policies

To protect customer data and ensure compliance with international regulations like GDPR, it's imperative that online casinos establish and publish comprehensive privacy policies. As a minimum, the policies should detail how customer information is collected, stored and used, and clearly state how customers can access the data held about them.

Terms and Conditions 

As well as protecting customer data, casino operators also have a duty to protect their funds. Similar to a privacy policy, T&Cs have to clearly state how a platform will handle a customer’s money, offer online payment protection, and outline the ways in which customer funds are protected in the event of insolvency or bankruptcy. 

Auditing and professional services

Maintaining a fair and responsible gaming platform is also important when it comes to operating an online casino. Reputable online casinos will work with third party auditing organisations like eCOGRA to ensure that their games operate on a random and fair basis. 

The more established casino operators will also work with professional cybersecurity firms, implementing comprehensive firewalls to prevent the risk of DDoS attacks.

April 10, 2020
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