No, Skynet is not upon us quite yet. However, bookmakers do seem to be taking their first tentative steps towards letting machines control their consumer base. Kindred Futures, the parent company behind sites such as UniBet and StanJames, recently co-hosted a roundtable session in London discussing artificial intelligence (AI). The key theme of the discussion was to ascertain whether AI could be used to detect early signs of problem gambling. A noble cause indeed!
The idea that AI could help in modelling behaviours and changes in these behaviours over time in order to help or prevent damaging addiction is an intriguing one. During the discussions in London, several critical factors were looked at based on previous research; such as the amount problem gamblers stake, the time they play for and how they deposit money. However, the conclusion was that there is no certain method of detecting problem gambling habits.
This conclusion seems to somewhat contrast the summary of the event by Will Mace, Head of Kindred Futures: “This was a fascinating discussion, bringing together experts from several different fields. The outcome was very encouraging – we agreed there was significant potential for an AI capability to bring together and analyse many data sources to give a much-improved ability to detect signs of a developing problem. We also agreed there was real value in doing this – both socially and commercially.”
It is upon hearing the word ‘commercially’ that we, at Heads&Heads, sat up and really started paying attention to this topic. If we allow ourselves to don our tin foil hats for a moment, we might be so bold as to question the original noble intent of this roundtable. Solving the issues of addiction seems to appear more and more secondary the further we look into this meeting. As we know, bookmakers already employ algorithms to help them identify certain patterns – not least, potentially matched bettors. In their current state, these algorithms are rather rudimentary but the introduction of advanced AI could change all this. We suspect this may be, in fact, one of the main goals of this push towards AI by bookmakers – identifying who is making money at their expense. It could be that the tackling of gambling addiction is just for the cameras.
Of course, this is all just hypothetical and guesswork based on past experience with the betting industry. However, it does mean that Heads&Heads will have to move with these changes and become smarter in the service we provide to our members. Whilst this is all a long way off and not something any of our members should be worried about, it does serve as a reminder as to the importance of Mug Betting and keeping your accounts healthy. Articles on these subjects can be found in the knowledge bank of Heads&Heads.