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Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov predict the big themes in online gaming this year

Esports to be in top five categories by revenue

Over the past 12 months, esports has not only entered the mainstream, but become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. With live sporting events cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, esports tournaments have given online betting customers a new and exciting alternative. With major tournaments like Dota 2 attracting hundreds of players and generating millions of views on platforms like Twitch, the success of esports will undoubtedly outlive the difficulties of the pandemic.

The integration of bookmakers’ presence into esports, and more generally sport events, has become more evident over the past year. Online betting companies which support esports and sports teams through sponsorship, brand ambassador deals and joint marketing campaigns have gained great exposure. This year, we will see more bookmakers investing in the creation of their own events and tournaments, which will appeal to fans regardless of their team affiliation.

The rise of big data in the battle against fraud

2021 marks the start of a new era for tackling betting fraud. With fraudsters becoming smarter and better equipped with state-of-the-art software and robots, and the adoption of biometric authentication tools being held back due to privacy concerns, fraudsters can easily blend into a crowd of legitimate online users. They also take advantage of the fact that anti-detect browsers like Linken Sphere and mobile/residential proxies have never been so cheap and user-friendly.

Going forward, betting companies can no longer rely on industry-agnostic B2B anti-fraud solutions like ThreatMetrix. Instead, large online operators will try to tackle fraud issues through the adoption of sophisticated data analysis tools and application of domain-specific knowledge to algorithms, as well as ML and big data approaches, so that customer information is ring-fenced from malicious attack.

Greater investment in payment systems over gaming products

World-class gaming products are nothing without user-friendly and efficient payment systems. Customers now expect high levels of data privacy and seamless transactions which do not interfere with their online betting experience. Operators will increasingly be looking towards encryption and tokenisation as methods of securing payments, moving away from the traditional methods of credit card payments which are often targeted by fraudsters. As customer bases grow, more needs to be done to protect personally identifiable information – therefore investment in secure online payment systems is paramount.

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