• Kevin Jones

Where uses of AI could impact opportunities for operators

The study of the topic Artificial Intelligence has been around for many years, though as technology has caught up with theory what do we actually do with it. Gaming Eminence speaks with an expert on the topic Josh Tromans-Jones Chief Innovation Officer at Symplify around its practical applications across the gambling industry. We discuss influences on operators bottom line, transferable uses, augmented intelligence, and the impact on problem gambling.

GE) We have seen gambling operators begin to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a variety of ways over the past few years, however, for those executives out in the market that aren’t in the technical weeds or data experts, where and how can the AI technology have a direct impact on their bottom line?

JT) AI technology empowers operators to enhance how they manage their end-to-end operation, with particular focus on personalised content, fraud detection and responsible gaming infrastructure. Optimising each element using AI directly impacts an operator's bottom line.

Operators who are able to deliver a truly personalised experience will thrive as they build engagement in an ever increasingly competitive landscape. The technology lets you choose games or betting markets categorised by each client determined by a machine learning algorithm that analyses behaviours. Data is leveraged to creating campaigns or for altering operators’ front-end design.

A deep understanding of player interests helps create a personalised user experience to drive acquisition and retention rates. Building an accurate picture of every player allows operators to design an online environment that resonates and over time grows the bottom line.

AI is also being used to create user flows and personalised journeys and this improves CRM communications. Automating chatbot processes using data means operators can communicate with players in a highly relevant and timely manner.

Another benefit of an AI solution is the ability to identify harmful player betting habits. Carefully crafted Responsible Gaming modules can utilise an algorithm to determine a player’s risk of becoming a problem gambler and allow the operator to step in early in the journey.

Eradicating fraud using AI will impact your bottom line. AML is best handled by customer knowledge (KYC), which focuses on due diligence and building highly detailed player profiles by verifying origins of funds placed into gaming wallets.

GE) It is apparent that AI is now being used in almost every sector. Do you see examples of where an innovative application of AI is being leveraged in one industry that could be transferable to the gambling industry in the future?

JT) An area where I have seen some exciting developments is AI image generation. AI image generator technology exists that uses a computer program that creates images from scratch. This is achieved by text prompts that have been trained on a vast database of images and captions scraped from the internet. All the user needs to do is create a suitable description and let the algorithm do the rest, if the tech is up to standard so as to avoid unsuitable results.

This process is being used more and more and will remove the burden from over-stretched CRM teams. AI now has the ability to create images that look ever more realistic and these can be promotional banners, site images or emails.

GE) For those that are not aware, could you break down the difference between AI vs augmented intelligence and how augmented intelligence is or should be utilised at a gambling operator in comparison to AI?

JT) AI is the capability for a computer or a robot to do tasks that would ordinarily be completed by humans because they require human intelligence. Whereas Augmented Intelligence is where computers and humans work in unison. Augmented Intelligence is a worthy concept to follow as it can be used to assist rather than replace decision making.

A good example that we see within the iGaming and sports betting space are chatbots. These CRM tools can answer some questions, but will refer you to a human for the more complicated issues. It filters out the simple solution to free up your team to commit resources to provide a more in-depth answer. An appropriate response to a customer concern will increase retention and user satisfaction.

Augmented Intelligence also can utilise data to generate patterns and predictive indicators which can shape a personal experience for each player.

GE) There are a few sceptics on AI’s ability to have a positive impact on problem gambling. One of the key talking points is the fact that problem gambling can come in a variety of forms and AI can sometimes create a false positive so to speak. What are factors that need to be considered to implement the successful use of AI to combat problem gambling? What are examples where not setting AI up correctly can cause more harm than good?

JT) It all revolves around having accurate data. Artificial Intelligence’s impact lessens when the data is poor or the problems are not well defined. When the correct framework is in place it can be used to improve efficiency in detecting and predicting problem gambling as well as the effectiveness in dealing with gambling addiction.

To prevent problem gambling an operator must have thorough data and a strong definition of what constitutes a problem gambler. For example, if you don't have a large dataset or if you have a dataset where problem gamblers have been labelled wrongly you will have issues. If you’re incorrectly identified as a problem gambler and contacted by an operator, it will turn you away from the service and negatively impact your brand.

AI’s potential is limitless and with that brings great responsibility to find the balance to use the technology for good. AI is the power behind a robust KYC system, but it can also be used for nefarious activities by someone wishing to create fake identification images in order to commit fraud. It’s a cat-and-mouse situation, AI vs AI. There is something called a GAN which is a Generative Adversarial Network, which leads to algorithms trying to outcompete each other.

In conclusion, AI will continually be incorporated to wider-reaching areas of the iGaming landscape as competition increases. The gulf between those that embrace AI and those that don’t will widen exponentially, creating both challenges and opportunities ahead.

“software is eating the world, AI is eating software” - Marc Andreessen

About our contributor

Josh has been working in the gaming industry for many years, both on the operator and affiliate side. He has led business intelligence and analytics teams throughout his career and has recently held positions as an CIO/CTO of some of the leading gaming companies.

His focus on previous roles has been to improve business visibility into operations by improving reporting, data visualization, and data processing, as well as the use of analytics and techniques such as machine learning to solve complex business problems. Visit https://symplify.com/