A recent investigation found that mentions of the popular online game Fortnite on the dark web have risen directly with the game’s monthly revenue. Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, profited $3 billion in 2018, considered a lot of money for a ‘free’ gaming system.

In fact, while the game itself is free, participants are encouraged to purchase Fortnite’s currency, V-Bucks, to buy outfits, cosmetics, weapons, and other items. The investigation uncovered that stolen credit cards (many of which are purchased on the dark web) are used to buy V-Bucks through the official Fortnite store, then resold at a discount to unsuspecting players.

The illicit funds from the stolen credit cards come out ‘clean’ and integrated back into the financial system. With most Fortnite players being under 18, these children are now unknowingly laundering money for criminal organisations.

Money laundering has become the leading source of compliance fines for North American and European institutions. In 2016 alone, regulators levied more than $42 billion in fines. The fines are increasingly commensurate with the flows. Each year, money-laundering transactions account for around $3 trillion. This equates to approximately five per cent of the global GDP. But even with these staggering numbers, only about one per cent of illicit global financial flows are ever seized by the authorities. The challenge? How to automatically trace and red flag suspicious transactions?

At the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit, NOUV will be hosting the second in a series of workshops entitled: ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Gaming: The Responsible Way’ on May 22 at the Microsoft Innovation Centre. Targeted at online gaming compliance officers and data scientists the workshop will present real use cases on how AI techniques can be leveraged to combat fraud, money laundering and enhance responsible gaming capabilities.

‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Gaming: The Responsible Way’ will be keynoted by Wayne Grixti, Malta AI chairman, alongside speakers Manfred Galdes, managing partner ARQ, Rebekah Duca, head of compliance at the MGA, David Sachs, CEO of Tomobox, and Baruchi Har-Lev, VP R&D Tomobox.

“Given the technology that the industry has at its disposal today, coupled with the very heavy penalties involved, the level of money laundering should not be so high. In fact, there is a direct correlation between keeping the online gaming environment safe and legal to maintaining a thriving online gaming business,” Andrew Naudi, technology partner at NOUV, said.

“At NOUV, we service the compliance requirements of many gaming companies. We believe this gives us an important role to help the gaming sector operate in a more responsible manner. This is why NOUV has decided to make it its mission to promote the importance of responsible gaming,” added Naudi.

“Responsible gaming has a major impact on operator brand integrity. There is a tremendous gap between the know-how that consultants have and the tools they might use in their audits. This is why for this seminar, hosted in collaboration with Malta AI and Blockchain Malta Summit, we will again feature Israeli Tomobox, a start-up based in Tel Aviv and Malta which developed SafeTrac, an AI driven software platform for online gaming companies that understands players’ patterns as well as conversations, alerts operators on red flag violations and guides them towards more responsible gaming patterns.

“Tomobox’s SafeTrac is an innovative software product that seeks to make gaming safer and more fun.”

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