The Game of Trust: A Guide to the Future of KYC in Gaming

Computers & TechnologySite Security

  • Author Surekha Nagpal
  • Published November 1, 2023
  • Word count 765

The gaming industry has experienced significant unprecedented changes in recent years, along with a deluge of new challenges in regulatory compliance. KYC in gaming involves verifying the identity of customers and assessing their risk level, making it crucial for maintaining integrity and protecting players from bad actors and fraudsters. To prevent fraud and other illicit activities, Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations have become increasingly invaluable in safeguarding an exponentially growing number of gamers around the globe.

Playing It Safe: A Quick Look at KYC in the Gaming Landscape

Today, the gaming industry stands as one of the most heavily regulated sectors, a testament to the critical importance of KYC in gaming. According to the Entertainment Software Association's 2021 report, the video game industry added $90.3 billion to the US economy in 2020, up 6% from just two years ago in 2019. Experts predict the global gaming market will reach a staggering $257 billion by 2025. Given this exponential growth, the accelerated implementation and development of quality gaming KYC practices are crucial to ensuring industry transparency and robustness.

Powering-Up: The Need for KYC Measures in Gaming

Gaming's virtual realities and exciting gameplay have many potential dangers, including money laundering. Cybercriminals use in-game purchases and trades to launder illegally obtained money, and popular games' large virtual economies can unwittingly become involved in these schemes.

Online gaming companies are required to verify their user's identity, age, location, and source of funds as part of the KYC and AML process. The Bank Secrecy Act1 1970 initially targeted traditional financial institutions like banks or credit unions. As regulatory bodies became more evolved, the list kept increasing, and in 1985, casinos were included in this category, which also extended to online gaming operators.

Online gaming companies must conduct customer due diligence (CDD ) processes to verify the identity of their customers. As part of the KYC verification, operators must collect and validate personal details like name, address, date of birth, and other relevant information for their customers. They are also required to verify the source of funds used by customers and identify the beneficial owners of legal entities associated with the transactions.

Identity fraud is a prevalent form of misconduct in the gaming community that inhibits the pleasure and camaraderie that gaming aims to provide. Bad actors can use stolen personal information to create fake gaming accounts and even take control of in-game purchases. To prevent these deceptive practices, strong KYC procedures in gaming can detect fraudulent behavior at an early stage.

Regulatory bodies worldwide have been ramping up enforcement actions to penalize and prevent illicit acts. In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the U.S. took action2 against a major tech and gaming company, enforcing a $170 million fine due to violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule in their gaming applications.

KYC in gaming plays a critical role in preventing serious financial compliance challenges, including fraud and money laundering. With the increasing shift towards online platforms and the exponential growth of the gaming community, KYC practices are becoming a top priority in the industry's efforts to mitigate risks.

Changing the Game: The Future of KYC in Gaming

Implementing an ID verification model is a balancing act. You want it to be strict enough to discourage fraudsters but not so much friction that it prevents legitimate customers from wanting to join and play.

The key to effective identity verification begins with the end goal: Know Your Customer at the deepest level possible. Establishing and iterating processes and procedures to collect pertinent information and keeping it current will help you catalog your user base and help guide future decisions regarding innovation and bringing new features to the market.

These same techniques can also help drive your team to continuously monitor for outliers and illicit actors attempting to utilize your platform in ways never meant to be used. Running a “clean shop” will help ensure ongoing user safety and security while enriching the experience for your target audience on your platform and mitigating risk to your organization.

KYC in gaming is changing due to new regulations and advancements in AI technology. Stricter data protection laws necessitate stronger measures to safeguard data, while AI technology improves anomaly detection. Global KYC solutions offer versatile usability across multiple platforms, simplifying verification for gamers.

Despite the advancements in gaming technology, there are still massive obstacles to overcome. Strict regulations pose a higher risk of non-compliance for gaming companies, which may lead some into compliance outsourcing. Furthermore, incorporating advanced technologies into gaming KYC procedures requires significant investments, technical knowledge, and careful planning. Despite the difficulties, the future of KYC in gaming is evidently full of potential.

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