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Betting Bots: How to Detect and Stop Them

Anyone working in iGaming will tell you that betting bots can be a huge problem for operators. 

So, how do you stop them from spoiling players’ fun and hurting companies’ bottom lines? This article will shed some light on how they operate as well as offer some solutions to detect and stop them.

What Is a Betting Bot?

A betting bot is a script designed to automatically perform set actions on a betting website without direct human input. They’re also known as casino bots, gambling bots, or value-betting software.

While their essential use is to speed up betting on sports or other events (usually by leveraging APIs), more sophisticated bots have now invaded online poker tables and other multiplayer games.

Are Betting Bots Illegal?

Betting bots aren’t necessarily illegal, but they are frowned upon, both by iGaming companies and other players. At the very least, online casinos, sportsbooks, and other providers tend to stipulate that betting bots are forbidden under their T&Cs.

What’s certain is that gambling bots cost the iGaming world a fortune. Research by Imperva and Netcea shows that:

  • Arb betting costs the iGaming industry at least $14 million annually. 
  • During the Euro 2020, certain gambling sites received up to 52,000 bad bot requests per hour.
  • 27.7% of all online gambling traffic appears to come from bots.
EZY Gaming Spots Customer Connections With SEON

The Netherlands-based iGaming operator relies on data enrichment to access granular user info and spot bad actors while remaining compliant.

Learn how

4 Types of Betting Bots

Betting bots come in all shapes and sizes, from simple to highly sophisticated. Here are just a few examples.

1. Scraping Bots

A scraping bot is always designed to gather data from a website. In the case of betting bots, they scrape odds data from selected bookmakers – information which is then used to check which company offers the best odds manually. 

A whole cottage industry of “odds providers” rely on these bots to gather data, make calculations, and sell the results to the public. 

2. Arbitrage Bots

In the betting industry, arbitrage bets, also known as “sure bets”, aim to make money by betting on two different outcomes for the same event. The bots will scrape all the odds for a certain event and automatically calculate whether an arb bet is possible based on a pre-set mathematical formula. 

Arbitrage Explained

3. Iceberg Bots

In the financial world, an iceberg order is one huge order hidden under the guise of hundreds of small orders. The same concept applies to betting bots. 

An iceberg bot will go to dozens of betting companies and place numerous small bets instead of a large one. This can cause an unwanted change in the price or odds. 

4. AI Bots

Artificial intelligence bots are the more sophisticated version of betting bots, as they allow people to play online games using algorithms. There are two key advantages to this. 

Firstly, they can play multiple hands simultaneously, potentially multiplying rewards. Secondly, they implement a strictly rational approach to play, which isn’t influenced by human emotion. 

The most common AI bots are by far poker bots, which have only increased in sophistication in recent years – both in terms of the algorithms deployed and the evasion techniques fraudsters rely on to keep their bots hidden. However, bingo AI bots and blackjack bots have also been spotted by researchers, 

How to Detect Betting Bots

Luckily for iGaming companies, there is no shortage of data analysis, data enrichment, and fraud prevention solutions designed to detect bots.

Monitor Traffic for Early Gambling Bot Detection

The first step is to look for irregular spikes in your traffic:

  • Are you seeing a significant increase in website visitors that’s not matching expectations or spend?
  • Is one channel bringing in more new sessions than others?
  • Is traffic coming from a similar location?

The location part is essential. Let’s dive into it deeper by looking at IP scores. 

Use IP Scores to Start Gauging Risk

If you’re wondering whether a player on your iGaming website is legitimate or not, it’s worth analyzing their connection details.

Here, for example, SEON’s IP lookup tool automatically detected that we are dealing with a user who carries interesting information.

IP Score no TOR

The fraud score is not too high, but some red flags are raised. They use a VPN and datacenter proxy, which point to the fact that someone is trying to hide their connection. 

Of course, it could be a legitimate user. So let’s carry on our investigation. 

Leverage Device Fingerprinting

How a user connects to your site could be the strongest indicator whether they are human or not. 

This is because betting bots tend to come from the same device. They also they spoof their data using virtual machines and emulators.

A device fingerprinting module, for instance, could let you extract data such as:

  • the browser and operating system
  • plugins installed
  • size of the window
  • device number 
  • and much more

The goal is twofold: 

  1. See if there are any red flags relating to emulators or virtual machines.
  2. help us spot connections between users later – this is done by creating a device hash, which is essentially an ID linking to that specific information. 

Look for Connections Between Users

Betting bots rarely work alone. This is why if you spot one, you could have the tools to spot many more.

The key is to cross-reference the data from one bad bot with the data of other users. Some fraud prevention companies, like SEON, can do it automatically for you, as you can see below.

Customer Connections

Analyze Behavior With Velocity Rules

In fraud prevention, a velocity check allows you to measure set actions over a specific time frame. 

This is by far the most effective way to catch repeat behavior – which can point to bot traffic. 

Velocity Rules

Even if the bot is extremely sophisticated and follows a dozen or more steps, the steps will be similar across all instances. 

Let’s look at some typical bot behavior and how measuring actions during a certain timeframe could help us:

  • Logs in and places a bet within 3 seconds.
  • Logs in at odd hours (compared to other users in their locale).
  • Places 10 bets within 5 minutes.
  • Places 10 bets of similar value.

Of course, any of these can be human behavior, too. However, by logging and measuring these kinds of actions, we can start getting an idea of players’ patterns and intentions.

And more to the point, we can decide if the user appears to be human or not. 

How SEON Helps Detect Betting & Gambling Bots

SEON is an advanced fraud detection solution that gives you all the tools to spot suspicious users and behaviors, so you can know your customers better. 

Through a combination of data enrichment, velocity rules and real-time monitoring and alerts, as well as machine learning and other innovations under the hood, you get the closest thing to keeping an eye on your players at all times. 

You can even feed the data into our ML systems to learn more about bot behavior and detect sophisticated scripts in the long run.

Importantly, all of this is completely customizable. One iGaming operator might want to be stringent about even the slightest deviation from human behavior, while another wants to whitelist certain VIPs always, or perhaps only block the most obvious bots. The SEON platform allows you to change all this according to your risk appetite and particular needs.

Ready to get started? You can book a demo today to see how it would work for your company.

FAQs

Which are the best betting bot detection tools?

Betting bots tend to follow similar patterns and configurations, so you can identify them by looking at IP data, device data, and analyzing behavior via velocity rules.

What is automated betting software?

Automated betting software is designed to gather odds data and automatically bet on the best offers from numerous betting providers. They gather the data via APIs.

Is automated betting software profitable?

It depends. As a player, you may have to test different tools and keep them running for lengthy periods of time before you see any profits – if this is allowed by the operator in the first place.

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Author avatar
Gergo Varga

Gerg? Varga is SEON’s Product Evangelist. With more than 10+ years of experience in the Hungarian and international risk management sphere, he has developed an astute knowledge of RiskOps and Open Source Intelligence. He is the author of SEON’s Fraud Prevention for Dummies guide.

Use cases
iGaming
Tags
bots

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