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Could AI Be the Solution in Solving Problematic Gambling Behavior?

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Aug/06/2020

According to statistics from the North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help, at least 2.6% of the population of the US has some form of gambling problem. This amounts to over 10 million people in the United States who are struggling under the yoke of gambling.

Notably, the gambling problem costs the US at least $6 billion annually, a significant amount that can affect the economy. Moreover, public funding for gambling-related issues went up to $73 million in 2016. However, seeing as it is not federally regulated, support services vary remarkably from one state to the next.

There are a number of telltale signs or checkpoints to look out for when identifying gambling addiction. These include gambling through the night, borrowing to gamble, getting a high from winning, being secretive and lying about gambling as well as not knowing when to stop gambling, even when it takes a toll.

Problem gamblers often realize that they are in financial ruin. But they mistakenly believe that the only solution for their problems lies in gambling the little they have in hopes of winning a huge sum. This often creates an endless cycle that is extremely difficult to break.

Unfortunately, the impacts of this vice are devastating on both the individual and the people in his life. Statistics show a link between obsessive gambling and domestic violence as well as child abuse. There is also a link between gambling and criminal activity. Devastating mental and physical health effects also often occur. 

The implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology holds remarkable potential in helping problem gamblers. How? Let’s find out.

 

How Can AI and Blockchain Help

The deployment of AI-based technology and blockchain makes it possible to detect unhealthy gambling patterns before they take root. According to a recent research study published by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, staff accuracy in identifying problem gambling is low. Staff members are only able to identify only 36% of the patrons experiencing issues.

Fortunately, blockchain and AI have the requisite mechanisms for assessing the interaction and correlation between variables with ease. One of the subsets of AI is a technology known as machine learning. Using this technology, computing systems can recognize and monitor behavior patterns.

Machine learning makes use of algorithms to convert raw user data from gambling sessions into meaningful insights. These take the form of descriptive behavioral variables. It then relates the variables to individuals who seem to be at risk by taking note of anomalies and abnormal changes in behaviors. 

This is a crucial tool for the identification of problem gambling in the early stages. It has the capacity to help prevent potential addiction and reduce other risks associated with excessive gambling. Oftentimes, problem gamblers are not aware of their addiction until it has taken hold of them. It is also worth noting that a majority of addicts are not even aware of the fact that they have a problem. One study revealed that only 21% of a sample group of addicts felt that their gambling was in fact problematic.

By this time, breaking the habit is an uphill task. Using AI, both gamblers and the platforms they play on would be able to see early signs and take steps to remedy the situation in good time. 

For instance, being alerted to the development of potentially risky gambling habits could assist players to seek self-regulation options. Furthermore, an accurate prediction might also lead to casino intervention. In turn, this could inform the creation of guidelines for safe play as well as improved intervention strategies.

Once casinos operators implement research-based principles for responsible gambling, it can positively affect the overall image of the casino sector. At the same time, it would be a remarkable form of protection for patrons, a reliable safety net for anyone who is at risk.

On the other hand, blockchain technology provides unrivaled transparency about players’ transactions and gaming activities. It makes use of a distributed ledger system that is accessible to everyone on a given network. The data recorded on this ledger is immutable and permanent, making it a reliable source of accurate data.

Based on this, it is clear that blockchain can transform and regulate the industry. It has the capacity to eliminate the human role from casino transactions, sealing all loopholes. Rather than having humans run the show, it would introduce smart contracts and transaction ledgers.

By virtue of their transparency, blockchain-based ledger records are open to scrutiny. Having members of the public as well as regulators scrutinizing them would force operators to take full control. With this level of accountability, it stands to reason that they would be more attuned to the needs of patrons, particularly potential problem gamblers.

According to Nick Hawke, the founder of TheBitcoinStrip.com, “Blockchain, which is the technology underpinning cryptocurrency, has the perfect combination of features to address the ills of problem gambling. Thanks to the transparency, immutability and decentralization, it offers casino operators and patrons the tools they need to bring this age-old menace to its knees.”

 

Potential Snags

One of the most outstanding aspects of blockchain technology is its potential for anonymity. Unfortunately, this could be a major bottleneck with regard to addressing problem gambling. Courtesy of this technology, bettors can now register accounts on casino sites without the need for identity verification.

While this is a major advantage for many gamblers, it is also a big problem when it comes to using technology to address gambling addiction. When players transact anonymously, this would stand in the way of data collection. 

Without having identities attached to players, it would be pointless to collect or analyze data, rendering the entire model obsolete.

A second major concern has to do with the fact that the technology is still in its nascent stages. This poses significant challenges for potential users. For starters, there are no regulations devised specifically for the crypto-based online gambling space. Similarly, automated solutions based on AI are yet to come under the purview of regulators.

Furthermore, there have been no trials of the concept yet. As such, it is still largely theoretical and far from ready for adoption. With these key concerns, questions arise about the potential ramifications on data protection and individual privacy.

One of the unintended outcomes of the exercise could be that privacy-centric individuals simply refuse to share their data and possibly even stop using the casinos altogether. However, given the massive potential of this tentative solution, casino operators and regulators might well find a way to make it effective.

Closing Thoughts

For all casino players, it is important to stop the vice before it takes hold. And this would entail making use of provisions for responsible gambling as the first solution. Responsible gambling basically means adhering to policies and practices that offer protection against the potential ills of gambling.

These include limits on the amount of time and money that patrons can spend on a site and self-exclusion programs, among other provisions. There are also plenty of initiatives promoting awareness of potential harms such as addiction. For patrons who identify the telltale signs of problem gambling, it is imperative that you seek help from the contacts provided on the casino site.

In the meantime, the world waits with bated breath, looking forward to seeing where AI and blockchain involvement in the gambling industry can go to.


 

 

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