Online Gaming Being Used As A Vehicle For Money Laundering
In-Game Currency can be Manipulated
Game Microtransactions are common today, allowing users to buy in-game items like cosmetics, loot boxes, etc in exchange for money. The process is simple and can be carried worldwide through a video game. According to an article by The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) , Online gaming can lead to Money Laundering.
A virtual currency system has real-life value, that can be exchanged for money and this can be used for moving or investment of criminal proceeds. The article also highlights it is difficult for game operators to identify such activity. The process of Online Gaming is used as a vehicle for money laundering, where some of the game has a online marketplace allowing users to trade items unofficially.
As an example of this process, money laundering occurred when it was found that criminals stole bank card details to buy V-bucks, in-game currency for the popular game Fortnite. The same was then sold at a discounted rate to other players via the dark web or through social media platforms.
The article also highlights that online games may have some appeal to criminals through the communication channels they offer. Intelligence agencies have collected information and data from online games reportedly due to a fear that terrorists might be both communicating and moving funds through these platforms.
As per the article, in-game currency activity lacks regulations and online gaming AML requirements offer an easy way to criminally to manipulate the process.