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Take cover: how to deal with sensitive information of bettors

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Legal sports betting and online gaming has grown in popularity. There are still challenges in terms of intellectual property, security and data protection. Russell Karp, DataArt, explains to us how Sportsbooks can secure and manage their data in order to meet these challenges.

Data collection, protection and reporting are more important than ever. These problems are often linked to compliance, both within and between jurisdictions. Operators must make extra efforts to ensure that the data of bettors is protected on both sportsbook platforms as well as mobile apps. How can a bookmaker manage data and keep it safe?

Data Management

Three of the biggest data challenges faced by sportsbooks are:

  • Due to issues with formatting and support, it is difficult to transfer large volumes of data from gaming systems to legacy systems. Legacy systems are often in silos, and they don’t interact well with new technologies. This makes it hard to analyse and manage transactional data.
  • Data management is a difficult task due to the sheer volume of data generated by sports, including scores and betting odds.
  • Official sports league data is more reliable than unofficial data.

You must first evaluate your current data architecture, and if you don’t have one already, adopt a cloud-based strategy.

The intersection between business and technology is how data is gathered, organised and utilized to provide various internal users (including AI) with the necessary information for their needs. The entire information supply chain, which includes marketing, sales, and customer service, is included.

Cloud infrastructure, such as redundancy and capacity enhancements can reduce downtimes.

It also scales well when large numbers of users and wagers are present, which could cause performance issues. This is especially true during big sporting events. In 2021, all major US operators, including FanDuel DraftKings, and Penn’s Barstool, experienced issues that resulted in revenue loss. MGM Nevada’s app also was not able to accept online wagers for the Super Bowl.

Thirdly, the challenge of official data versus unofficial is more difficult. The majority of sports betting companies aren’t required to use any specific data sources, but leagues or teams can claim to own their sports data. They call it official and charge fees for integrity.

Offshore sportsbooks continue to operate without restriction, even though professional leagues are seeking compensation for the access of their official statistics in real time. Unscrupulous businesses in the ecosystem also developed ways to steal data from sports leagues that spent millions of dollars to work with them in the US or internationally. The six to eight second delay on offshore sportsbooks does not represent a problem with latency, but a lag that occurs when websites use pirated data.

Data Security

Due to the amount of information that operators hold, cyber-threats are a particular concern for the gaming industry. The 2014 Las Vegas Sands Corporation Hacking was one of the biggest data security incidents to affect the gaming industry. Criminals stole credit card information, driver’s licence info and social security number from customers.

Cyber criminals threatened critical systems with ransomware in 2020. The sites powered by SBTech were down for over 72 hours. The company, fortunately for its clients, lost 72 hours of revenue from gaming. It can happen at any size sportsbook.

Hacks are usually the result of data security weaknesses. Confidential information can be stolen, and used for a wide range of crimes (false identity is on the list), with bonus abuse as one of the more common offenses.

A common bonus abuse is when one player receives a bonus for a brand new player multiple times. Arkose Labs reported that in the first quarter 2022, gaming companies saw an increase of 85% in false account registrations. Bonus abuse can become a serious problem when organised criminals or groups use VPNs to create false identities, and alter their location.

Everyone in the sports betting ecosystem, including teams, leagues, and government, is responsible for maintaining integrity. When collecting, processing and sharing data, sports betting companies are required to adhere to federal, state and tribal regulations. This can be done by following these data privacy principles, which include: consent, inform, data retention, and security.

Data Security: The Four Key Principles

It can be as difficult to transmit and secure shared data as it is to ingest them. Multiple partners who depend on one another to transfer sensitive information securely can create complex situations.

The individual sportsbooks don’t want to share their bets back. There are certainly some sensitive issues here,” Matthew Holt told DataArt recently. It is important that partners trust each other and agree on a method for determining security levels.

Technology solutions that have been proven to work are essential for ensuring a safe and fair environment, both for bettors and partners. Open-source software is cost-effective but can have serious security problems such as data breaches, malware, and Denial-of-Service attacks. William Hill was hit by a DDoS in 2016, which cost them approximately PS4.4m over a 24 hour period. In June 2022, a quarter (25%) of online sportsbooks were subjected to DDoS attacks. This is an alarming statistic that could worsen.

In response to cybersecurity events like the ones above, DataArt security experts created a seven-level pyramid to secure your betting platform.

As their businesses grow, sports betting operators need to adopt security as an important cultural value. They must also constantly raise security awareness.

Compliance

Compliance is important because new rules are being introduced at a rapid rate. Sports betting operators continue to focus on compliance. To launch in the sports betting industry, it takes an army of s to comply with the regulations, from product to licensing, internal controls, documentation, and all that happens behind the scenes, says Eric Frank.

It is important to know the regulations in place and to incorporate compliance measures within your business plan if you are a new operator, or if you have any plans to be one. It can be difficult to navigate the many websites that are maintained by regulators, but you need to stay up-to-date on the most recent regulations or risk an expensive fine. William Hill was recently fined by Nevada gaming regulators for infractions that affected thousands of its customers.

How will the technology simplify and improve this difficult task? Platforms such as Odds On Compliance, which aggregate, organise, and present this data in an easily consumable format, are available on the market. It must have extensive search features, bookmarking capabilities and exporting options.

The conclusion of the article is:

The vast online betting eco-system, which includes sportsbooks, suppliers and operators as well as regulators, leagues and partners, offers a great opportunity to use the latest technology to give users confidence that their data is safe. The right technology will help solve your data management and security issues while also promoting trust among players.

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