BW Businessworld had an interesting conversation with Arjit Bhargava, Senior Vice President of AuthBridge Research Services about the real-money gaming sector and how the future seems to be for this booming sector. With real-money gaming having gone through multiple ups and downs in 2022, it has truly been a roller coaster of the ride for the sector. A major milestone was set when the union government assigned the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as a nodal ministry for skill-based gaming.
In this conversation, we talked about AuthBridge Research, frauds in real-money gaming, Bhargava’s opinions of the government’s recent decisions regarding real-money gaming and the future of the skill-based gaming sector in the country.
AuthBridge is India’s largest authentication company, delivering cutting-edge technology and alternate data analysis for Identity Management, Onboarding & Verification, and Business Intelligence. Our products and solutions solve identification, verification, and onboarding challenges. So, wherever these are key requisites, we have a strong relevance as well as presence. More than 1500+ clients across 30+ sectors, including Fortune 500 and Indian Unicorns, rely on AuthBridge’s sophisticated authentication products and solutions.
Our user KYC, fraud prevention, third-party onboarding, and due diligence solutions enable businesses to identify risks and discrepancies right at the initial stages, onboard users and third parties at scale minimal TAT and expedite informed decision-making with data-driven insights. Our AI and ML-powered onboarding and verification solutions are supported by the largest proprietary identity, education, and criminal databases in the country.
The growth of the real money gaming industry has not only attracted players but also fraudsters. One of the primary reasons the RMG segment is a breeding ground for bad actors is that it lacks strict KYC checks and overlooks regulatory guidelines. Many platforms permit user anonymity to enable onboarding at scale and shoot up player traffic, making them a hotbed for unwanted nefarious activities such as multi-accounting, underage playing, location spoofing, and money laundering. This not only jeopardizes the financials and ROI of the company but also puts the gaming experience of ‘authentic players’ in dire straits, eventually, leading to increased reputational loss.
AuthBridge’s robust onboarding and verification solutions help gaming companies to validate users’ identities right at the start so that there is no room for repercussions of identity fraud. For instance, our AI-powered solutions built on technologies such as liveness checks, OCR, etc. match the user’s face with ID documents in real-time, automate data capture, and help prevent stolen/altered IDs from passing the checks. Digital Address Verification captures the user’s location through geo-coordinates to prevent location spoofing and help gaming companies adhere to state laws. API-based penny drop method validates bank details along with the beneficiary’s name to keep money laundering and other financial crimes at bay. Our KYC and onboarding journeys coupled with state-of-the-art technologies facilitate the fastest onboarding, improve user experience, and help companies take care of compliance and regulations.
Recent actions said to be attributed to the rising gaming frauds, will have a significant impact on making this growing industry more regulated, trustworthy, and compliant. The new draft rules proposal, emphasizing the stringent due diligence frameworks and KYC mandates, indicates an increasing focus on building a safer gaming ecosystem and giving a clear delineation of the permitted online gaming intermediary. A regulated gaming lexicon will open new horizons for new startups to flourish and take the growth of this sector up by many notches. Strict KYC/AML mandates will push more and more gaming companies to leverage onboarding and verification solutions and onboard users at scale, without compromising on the compliance part. This will help the companies in this sector to stay aligned with regulations and mitigate gaming frauds that can impact the reputational, regulatory, and financial aspects of the businesses.
The skill-based gaming sector is growing at a head-spinning rate, and the numbers are a testament to this fact. As reported by Statista, the market value of the Indian skill gaming sector was around INR 79 billion in FY 2021-22. It is anticipated to reach INR 150 billion in FY 2023-24, which means, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 15 per cent. It has been described as “a very important piece of the start-up ecosystem and a part of the goal of the 1-trillion dollar economy”.
Adding to this, the proposal of a self-regulatory body and mandating KYC norms for verification indicates that the Indian government is also realizing the tremendous potential, in terms of revenue, startups, and investments, and taking steps to safeguard gamers and gaming intermediaries from underlying risks/frauds and establish a trusted gaming ecosystem. Enabling robust KYC and onboarding journeys for players is one such way for gaming companies to maintain uniformity with government regulations, mitigate gaming frauds, and set a seal on sustainable growth in the long-standing.
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