5 Ways A.I. & Data Will Change Online Gambling Forever

Over the next decade or less, our relationship with artificial intelligence will change dramatically. But whether it blossoms into a productive partnership or devolves into the stuff dystopian fantasies are made of is anyone’s guess.

The production of A.I. in robot form
Image Credit: extremetech.com

For now, virtually every industry is trying to figure out how to best apply the latest advances in A.I. and data analysis technology.

The online gambling sector is no exception, and its advancements using A.I. (like the five below) are expected to be both rapid and exciting.

1. Using Smarter Data, Smarter

For some time now, online casinos have been analyzing their customers’ behavior. Like how land based casino layouts have been studied deeply and modified to better retain players, online casinos have been given the same treatment.

Using this information, sites can better anticipate players’ needs and figure out what makes them play, quit, or change games the most.

Brain vs A.I. gambling challenge
Image Credit: casinowizard.co.uk

What gambling companies do with this data varies. Some want to detect what elements make certain games more popular than others, while many more may strictly be after maximizing their profits.

Like much of A.I., figuring out how to apply this abundance of data is still a new frontier. But for those with a knack for analytics, opportunities in the industry are abundant.

2. Better Computer Competition

Tales of computers conquering their human opponents at complex games like chess, Go, and League of Legends have been highly publicized. It was only a matter of time until someone taught a computer to not only play poker, but to play it unconquerably well.

Online poker, brains vs artificial intelligence
Image Credit: cheappoloonline.com

At the beginning of 2017, a 20-day poker competition called Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence: Upping the Ante was held in Pittsburgh.

The contest pitted four poker pros (Jason Les, Jimmy Chou, Daniel McAulay, and Dong Kim) against Libratus, a Carnegie-Mellon designed Hold’em-playing computer.

After 120,000 hands, Libratus held the high stack with around $1,766,250 in chips.

This called for co-developer Tuomas Sandholm to claim that. “A.I.’s ability to do strategic reasoning with imperfect information has now surpassed that of the best humans.”

While no one plays online poker for money against the computer (especially given this recent development), this demonstration of how machine learning can take into account both mathematical probabilities and their opponent’s behavior could give the house an even greater edge in other online casino table games.

If the technology is applied to producing betting lines that more consistently get 50/50 action on either side of the line, it could also forever change online sports gambling.

3. Smoother Customer Service

Be it on the phone or through a chat feature, we’ve all experienced the frustration that comes from dealing with a customer service ‘representative’ that is clearly not human. Thankfully. smarter A.I. is now putting those comically inhuman bots out of a job.

Artificial Intelligence representative

Slowly replacing them now are advanced bots that can access and analyze knowledge about a customer’s specific playing habits.

This allows personalized and more relevant answers to be delivered quicker. In the event a customer still needs to deal with a human, these interaction records will ensure that your ticket is passed along to the best-equipped agent.

According to a recent study by Oracle, 78% of brands say they, “have already implemented or are planning to implement artificial intelligence and virtual reality by 2020 to better serve customers.”

Given this, look for your helpful customer service agent at your online casino to be completely automated sooner rather than later (if not already).

4. Preventing Problem Gambling

This new A.I. could be applied to a cause much greater than simply earning casinos additional profits.

In a recent forum, online gambling company Kindred Group discussed how A.I. could be used to detect the warning signs of problem gambling early on.

The company logo for Bet Buddy
Image Credit: bet-buddy.com

Kindred has partnered with City University of London and gambling analytics company BetBuddy. The three groups call the product of their partnership PS-EDS (Player Safety Early Detection System).

Ideally, this technology will collect information about how much time players spend playing, how much and when they deposit money, what games they play and when, and how much they stake. PS-EDS will then analyze this data to detect bad gambling habits before they can develop into a full-fledged gambling problem.

Taking all these factors into account, the technology’s creators claim it can predict a gambling problem in a given individual with 87% accuracy.

The machine-learning system would also offer tools to customers like loss-limits and automatic timeouts.

5. Inviting (and Preventing) Cheaters

A decade or so ago, it wasn’t uncommon to spot a bot posing as a real player in online first person shooters.

While esports’ anti-bot systems have gotten much better since and there’s been several cases of people designing machines that can cheat slot machines in land casinos, this new wave of A.I. and machine learning has reopened the issue for online casinos.

In-game online poker statistics on opponents
Image Credit: abzpokerbot.com

An advantage of playing casino games online is that for the most part, players can reference tools (like hand probability calculators in poker or basic strategy charts in blackjack) with no consequence.

Some in the industry are worried though. They fear that these smarter machines would eventually be able to appear human enough and take casinos for big bucks by playing perfectly in games that don’t have an inherent house edge.

Whether the solution is a casino-commissioned piece of A.I. that can detect A.I. bots or some sort of advanced CAPTCHA system, it poses an interesting quagmire for online casinos that have long held the stance of ‘do whatever you think will help you, as long as it doesn’t take away our long-term edge’.

The Future Is Coming For You

Although we can make predictions about A.I. and where its effects will ripple, we may be at the technology’s mercy as we move into the future.

No matter where it takes both us and our favorite industries, we’d all do well to heed A.I. researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky’s warning that, “By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.”