The gambling problem is a major concern in the US and it is estimated that over two million people suffer from it. It has negative impacts on the social, economic, psychological, and physical well-being of an individual and could lead to extreme consequences like suicide and imprisonment. Casinos have tried to implement various methods to curb it but the efforts have not borne fruits. Could AI be the long-lasting solution?
Artificial Intelligence has been utilized across various sectors and the gambling sector is no exception. This industry is known for quickly adapting to the latest technologies. A clear example is how it adopted the online aspect. The online gambling industry is barely two decades old but it has already become a multi-billion industry that is projected to soon surpass the land casino industry.
Its growth has been further propelled by the COVID 19 pandemic that caused challenges to land-based gaming, thus leaving online gaming as the perfect alternative. You can now find unbelievable products like free penny slots no download that is a perfect option for gamblers. Since the gambling industry has shown willingness to adapt to the latest tech, AI is certainly going to find a place in it. Perhaps you may be wondering, what is artificial intelligence exactly?
Just as the name suggests, it is a branch of computer science that is focused on simulating the intelligence of human beings. The only reason why humans are different from other beings is that they possess intelligence and will. Hence, AI is an important science that could become an integral part of the day-to-day running of various things. It is often used to analyze big sets of data and recognize patterns that can be used to predict certain outcomes.
Even though AI seems like an effective solution to issues across all sectors, the gambling problem presents a unique challenge that has been difficult to deal with. Land-based casinos have employed and trained people who look out for certain behaviors that could be termed as destructive. However, this is quite subjective since humans are prone to make mistakes. Furthermore, they may catch a few but they cannot possibly watch the hundreds or even thousands of gamblers in the casino.
Land-based casinos also prohibit or limit the use of alcohol and other drugs. This ensures that the substance abuse issue does not exacerbate the gambling problems. It is a good measure since it is easy to monitor. However, this cannot happen in online casinos.
The online casinos have a greater challenge since it is impossible for anyone to watch all the players and notice destructive behaviors. Nevertheless, some remarkable casinos have implemented certain measures to promote responsible gambling. They include:
- Time Limits;
- Loss Limits;
- Deposit Limits.
The time limit allows players to set a certain number of gambling hours a day or week. Once exceeded, the casino automatically stops the player from continuing. Self-Exclusion, on the other hand, enables a player to set time-outs where the casino prevents him or her from accessing any gambling services. The loss and deposit limits are maximum amounts where the casino locks out the player when they are reached.
However, all these measures can be easily circumvented by a willing player. They all originate from the player so it requires him or her to diagnose the problem and choose to deal with it. Also, a player can simply choose to sign up in another casino and continue gambling. This complicates the matter further.
The UK has recently banned the use of credit cards in casinos and it seems like a good step forward though it only deals with one aspect. The same should also be implemented in other regions of the world, including the US. It has proven hard to set a blanket ban on gambling so the solution is to foster responsible betting. Hence, it is quite necessary to find new ways of tackling gambling problems in the US and AI could be the answer.
Artificial Intelligence and Gambling Problems
Artificial intelligence is critical in analyzing big sets of data and finding patterns that could predict a certain outcome. They do what people would do when watching other gamblers but they are so much more efficient. The advantages of using AI to trace problem gambling include:
- Increased efficiency;
- Ability to simultaneously monitor many players;
- Can study huge sets of data;
- Can find the destructive patterns from the data provided;
- Work independently after being programmed.
How could AI be used to tackle gambling problems in the US? Many methods have been suggested. The most promising one is to stuff the machine with data that could help diagnose the problems. This is essentially showing the machine the behaviors that can be identified as destructive. The data could include the number and size of deposits made within a specified period, rates of winning and losing, time spent on the casino, the kinds of games played, impulsivity, and more.
Once the machine has this info, it will be able to automatically run and identify players that have the hallmarks of problem gambling. Different techniques are enabling the machines to learn. They include:
- Supervised Learning;
The first is where people insert the inputs and the outputs and give the conclusions that should be obtained from the algorithms. In the unsupervised technique, humans only give the input and the machine learns from its mistakes. Reinforcement is where the machine is given the ability to have the human experience by interacting with the environment.
The supervised learning model is more effective in tackling problem gambling. This is because it involves providing the hallmarks of destructive behaviors since they are known. Hence, the machine gets to learn from the data and uses it to detect the problem.
What are the Challenges of Using AI in Tackling Gambling Problems?
The use of AI seems quite promising but it is marred by challenges that continue to threaten its implementation. All new inventions tend to face challenges and the skepticism that online gambling faced in the beginning is a testament to this. Even harmless games like free penny slots required some time for people to fully embrace them. Here are some challenges that AI could face.
Regulation and Breach of Privacy
AI could require very sensitive info to accurately trace an individual with gambling problems. This is a big challenge that must be addressed tactically. Also, the issue of privacy must conform to existing regulations. The use of AI may require a legal framework that will enable it to function. This may take time and could be futile because of the different parties that will need to cooperate.
Another contentious issue is how to communicate with the customers. AI could notice destructive behaviors but how does it alert the gambler? Will it automatically do it or should a professional human do it instead? These are the questions that the casinos will face at that point.
Online casinos are in business so as much as they would want to curb gambling problems, they also want to stay afloat. Any measure that would annoy a client is unfathomable. One plausible way that is being explored is sending a pop-up message that will allow the client to communicate with an expert. Then, they could be informed about the possible measures such as self-exclusion, deposit limits, or loss limits.
Fortunately, research shows that many people who suffer from gambling problems are aware of the issue. However, they do not know how to deal with it. Hence, the pop-up messages and possible remedies could be taken positively and help to curb this problem.
Despite these issues, AI has notable advantages that show why it can be the solution to gambling problems in the US. Let us take a look at the pros and cons to demonstrate this:
|Pros of Using AI||Cons of Using AI|
|High efficiency||Regulatory and privacy concerns|
|Works independently||Expensive to implement|
|Can accurately analyze huge sets of data and draw conclusions||Works effectively in online casinos|
|Objective and unbiased compared to humans||The lack of flexibility, which only humans have|
|Quickness||The shortage of analise options|
The pros outweigh the cons so AI could be the future for the fight against irresponsible gambling.
Artificial intelligence has been applied in several sectors and it could be the solution to gambling problems in the US. It works in a sophisticated way that can assist casinos to trace problem gamblers. Even though it has its challenges, it seems like a strong solution to this major problem.