Exclusive Q&A with Robert Chvatal, Chief Executive Officer at SAZKA Group

Home » Exclusive Q&A with Robert Chvatal, Chief Executive Officer at SAZKA Group
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‘The house always wins’ is one of the oldest adages in sports betting. It must be most trusted quote too, as numerous once-bitten punters would vouch for.

Here is the other side of the story.

Alexander Kamenetskyi, Sportsbook Product Owner with SOFTSWISS, talks about the steps that Sportsbooks take to keep fraudulent activities at bay.

You must read the interview for his lucid and succinct deconstruction of frauds that take place in the betting arena.

Over to the interview now!

Q. We’ve had a fabulous Euro 2020, in which Italy deservedly emerged winners. The betting industry also enjoyed thriving business during the period. But there have been reports that the level of betting frauds increased manifold. As a Sportsbook Product Owner, how do you view the situation?

A. First of all, I would like to congratulate all the fans of the Italian national team on their victory! We were finally able to enjoy the football battles of Euro 2020. In my opinion, it was an amazing championship full of dramatic and exciting moments.

As statistics show, such large events always see a spike in cases of fraud and that’s why we are always ready to track such activity and mitigate the risks for our clients.

Q. Could you share some practical experiences where you faced fraudulent activities and how you dealt with it?

A. Fraudsters always try to find system weaknesses in bookmaker lines and exploit them. This time they knew they had a chance to go unnoticed for a long time, as the attention of all bookmakers’ was drawn to the Euro 2020. Oftentimes bookmakers may also contribute to the appearance of such fraudsters themselves.

Speaking of the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook team – we are perfectly prepared for the arrival of unwanted guests. Over the course of the championship we mainly saw players with counterfeit documents, but our platform had just the tools to track and prevent such manipulations.

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Typically, fraudsters bet on unpopular types of sports and weak leagues. Sometimes they are at the matches in person or they bet ahead of the curve when there’s a fast video broadcast. This is quite easy to track, and we resolve such cases pretty quickly.

Quite often in such cases, players ‘artificially’ raise their maximum bets for specific markets (e.g. via betting from several accounts), but we prevent this by analyzing player bets and player activity.

We have our own Risk Management and Anti-Fraud teams, as well as the Betradar Risk Management team and Managed Trading Services. We are also currently in the process of developing automated tracking systems

Q. What kind of frauds do you normally anticipate as a sportsbook operator?

A. The list isn’t vast.

First, come the ‘arbers’, or players who find arbitration situations between bookmakers and exploit them.

Secondly, there are ‘button players’ who place bets seconds after the outcome becomes clear.

There are also ‘valuebetters’, or those who bet on higher odds or odds with an advantage.

Then there are middle betting players, who are mostly playing for the total, and usually with an advantage.

And then there is the very widespread type of fraudster – the bonus hunter. Bonus hunters find weak points in bookmaker promotions and exploit them to their advantage. Some of these can be white hat bonus hunters and we even have someone like that in our team.

Of course, match fixing is the bane of the sports industry and is one of the most serious offenses. Naturally, there are many more types of sports betting fraud, but the ones I mentioned are the most widespread.

Q. How do you plan to tackle the potential frauds?

A. We are working on developing our own Sportsbook Risk Management team. We are also building our internal Risk Management Tools (RMT). Our RMT system is based on long-term experience in the field, market needs, new innovative technologies, and artificial intelligence. The system will be universal in that it will help us work not only with fraudsters, but also with ordinary players.

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Q. Could you share some insights into the software-enabled checks and AI-powered analyses that aid fraud detection and prevention in betting?

A. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal all the cards because RMT is an anti-fraud system. I can only say that we are developing tools that rely on artificial intelligence based on data analytics. We are already working on unique tools to combat the main types of fraud, which will react not only to the style of play but also to overall player behaviour.

I can also add that our protection system does not just work for each project separately, but encompasses all brands across our platform.

Q. Coming back to the Euro 2020, what are the new things that happened in connection with fraudulent betting? Is it a case of new-age fraudsters emerging or is it a case of old punters becoming smarter – just like the Italian defenders?

A. The Italian defenders showed us a level of play we can look up to. I can say that the average scammer is rather diverse. The experienced type is always on the lookout for new projects, erroneous proposals, and mainly uses trite and true scam methods. Younger scammers place more emphasis on modern methods such as bots.

Q. Do all the fraud detection and prevention mechanisms affect the pure joy of punting? Will the whole process become cumbersome for the genuine bettors? Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

A. Our tools work not only with negative players, but also with positive ones. We place a lot of attention on working with those players who have proven themselves to be honest and conscientious. Additionally, we create great bonus offers for our players that encourage their gaming activity and do not use complex wagering systems. We are also very keen on soon introducing gamification to the platform, which is currently in development.

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Q. Finally, how do you see fraudulent activities and the prevention mechanisms pan out in the future? What’s your bet on this?

A. The world of betting is huge, but it hasn’t reached its peak yet. Of course, fraud will continue to develop and there are many reasons for this.

First-time bookmakers who are poorly versed in the basics of sports betting will continue to create inaccurate bonus offers, miscalculate the bonus math and create bonus overlap. Errors in the betting lines and a lack of analytical work will continue to generate negative outcomes.

It is our job to create a product that fortifies the operator from negative outcomes, but we aren’t able to entirely wall ourselves off from the market. That is why we will be working on new tools to combat fraud and further improve the quality of our product, first and foremost, so that ordinary players can enjoy the game.

Our main task is to provide a reliable, high-quality product to the players. Sports betting is a great way to have fun. And that’s why we are creating a safe and secure environment around sports betting with SOFTSWISS Sportsbook.

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