Report: Skillz Takes Bowling Online — And Strikes Out Bad Actors

Consumers today are looking for new avenues of at-home entertainment as many continue to lay low during the ongoing pandemic.

While video streaming services remain popular, research indicates more consumers are also turning to online gaming and gambling platforms.

Fraudsters looking for their own enrichment are also populating these platforms, however, making it imperative that both consumers and the companies providing these digital bowling, poker or roleplaying games take security seriously. This means employing digital identification measures that can distinguish between bad actors and legitimate customers near-instantly, both to keep fraudsters from making off with their ill-gotten gains and to ensure the customer experience remains engaging for their users.

The August Digital Identity Tracker® analyzes the growth of online and mobile gaming as the pandemic keeps customers wary of brick-and-mortar entertainment, as well as what this means for digital identity and security needs. The Tracker also examines how both fraudsters and online gaming platforms are employing new emerging technologies to muscle bad actors out of these services.

Around The Digital Identity Ecosystem

Consumers are turning to their smartphones more often to get their gaming fix. One report found that the mobile gaming market is expected to be valued at $100 billion by the end of 2020, for example. This segment was also responsible for 72 percent of total mobile application spending by consumers last year, the study showed. The steady growth of mobile gaming has also attracted fraudsters to these applications, however, with many bad actors crafting schemes designed to filter funds from vulnerable users. Advertising fraud — where fraudsters imitate legitimate gaming apps in an attempt to trick advertisers into spending funds on their duplicate app — also remains a favored tactic, meaning platforms will need to strengthen defenses as these games continue to grow in popularity.

Fraudsters are also turning to emerging technologies to help them skim some money from digital gaming and gambling platforms as well, with another study finding that fraud involving malicious bots are also on the rise. This includes distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that use bots to overwhelm the servers of these platforms, effectively slowing down their ability to interact with customers to a halt. Guarding against this method of fraud must therefore represent a top priority for such companies, especially because fraudsters are also using these bots to data scrape personal and financial information from these servers that can be used for identity theft at a later date.

One form of technology that could help to mitigate some of the rising forms of fraud on gaming platforms is biometrics. Facial or fingerprint recognition tools could help to provide an extra layer of authentication on these sites for users while also allowing consumers to log onto the platform with the speed they have come to expect. Online poker company PokerStars has therefore added in biometric protection features to its mobile poker application, now allowing its users to authenticate through fingerprints or via facial recognition. Customers can choose this method rather than inputting passwords, something that also decreases the time it takes for them to be able to complete log in and begin playing.

For more on these and other stories, visit the Tracker’s News & Trends.

Skillz Takes Offline Bowling Online

The rush of consumers looking to try out online gaming has prompted several companies to enhance their offerings or the types of games they offer in the hopes of keeping new users engaged. Online and mobile competition company Skillz has partnered with bowling center Bowlero Corporation to bring virtual bowling to its customers. The move is aimed to provide fitness or sports-based activities to consumers who still remain wary of going to brick-and-mortar locations with groups, says Vikram Rao, director of financial planning and analysis at Skillz. Ensuring these consumers can also pay for this experience easily — and more importantly, securely — also remains essential to creating lasting customer loyalty, Rao explained in an interview with PYMNTS.

To learn more about how Skillz and its partners are aiming to provide engaging customer experiences while keeping their users’ payment data secure, visit the Tracker’s Feature Story.

Deep Dive: Guarding Gaming Platforms Against Online Fraud

Consumers are continuing to try out online gaming platforms thanks to the entertainment void created by the ongoing pandemic, but this surge in interest from legitimate consumers has also caught the attention of fraudsters. The percentage of bad actors attempting to entice customers to false or malicious gaming sites rose 54 percent between January and April of this year, in fact.

This makes it critical for digital platforms to provide identity verification and security measures that can easily distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate gamers. These sites also need to be sure that they can conduct this identity authentication quickly to ensure they are keeping the attention of real consumers, however, leading many to consider biometrics for their verification needs.

For more about the latest digital identity challenges in online gaming, visit the Tracker’s Deep Dive.

About The Tracker

The Digital ID Tracker®, done in collaboration with Jumio, is your go-to monthly resource for updates on trends and changes in the digital ID industry.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.