AI and Blockchain to Solve Problem Gambling
Could blockchain and artificial intelligence help solve gambling addiction? Yes, say recent findings, but the implementation of these technologies is not without its dangers.
Using data from the Guardian and popular gaming websites, this detailed infographic provided by OnlinePokerAmerica.com explores the positive effect automated solutions could have on gambling addiction nationwide. 61% of those surveyed expressed confidence in the future of automated AI, while only 22% thought AI would make problem gambling worse.
Are there some caveats to consider? Certainly. Here are all the highlights you need to know about AI, problem gambling, and young gamblers.
Problem Gambling: The Facts
According to the North American Foundation for Gambling, over 10 million people in the United States – that’s an incredible 2.6% of the population – suffer from a from of gambling addiction. Of all the observed countries, the U.S. is the worst hit by gambling problems.
Those most vulnerable to addiction are between 16 and 24 (1.4%), closely followed by 34-44 year-olds (1.1%), 25-34 year-olds (0.8%), and those aged 45+(0.3%).
Gender-wise, men tend to be the majority of problem gamblers, with 1.2% claiming to have suffered from some form of gambling addiction, compared to just 0.1% of women.
What Are The Signs of Gambling Addiction?
Signs of problem gambling may include a person lying about their gambling activities, chasing losses, staying awake into the night, seeming “obsessed” with winning, borrowing money to continue gambling and being unable to stop.
As with all other forms of addiction, problem gamblers tend to use gambling as an escape from reality. Over time, problem gambling can lead to debt, relationship troubles, repossession of assets and various mental health issues.
A person becomes withdrawn and cuts all social ties as most problem gamblers acknowledge the stigma that comes with the activity and feel remorse. Unable to stop, they spiral further down.
How Can AI and Blockchain Help?
By deploying AI-led technologies, gambling operators will be able to identify unhealthy patterns before they take hold, meaning better regulation over underage gambling and addiction in people of all ages. AI technology will also develop a reliable ‘’safety net” for those individuals most at risk. Blockchain is also set to play a core role in transforming and regulating the industry.
According to Kindred Future psychologists, AI has the potential to analyze a variety of data source and enable gambling regulators to detect the initial stages of gambling addiction. Blockchain could also eliminate much of the “human factor” in the gambling sector by introducing ledgers and contracts open to public scrutiny, forcing operators to become better regulated.
What Are The Potential Downsides?
One of the potential snags of blockchain, in particular, is that it guarantees anonymity. The lack of identity attached to betters makes it difficult to weed out underage gamblers since no document verification is required to play.
Currently, there are almost no legal regulations for automated solutions like AI and blockchain, since the technology is still relatively new. With new regulations worldwide, however, experts believe that blockchain could allow the gambling industry to become transparent for everyone, helping to combat widespread addiction.
One notable example comes from Macau where innovation in the casino sector has been met with excitement. With a number of casinos weaving AI and facial recognition solutions into their security measures, Macau has been at the forefront of leveraging technology for the well-being of gamers.
However, a recent Bloomberg report revealed that darker forces could have been working behind the scenes. Macau casinos may have been using the technology to categorize customers, establish gaming patterns and “spot the biggest users.”
Upon identifying individuals that were more likely to use, casinos offered them additional incentives to stay around and keep playing. Macau is exclusively focusing on the VIP segment, so most of the customers are high-paying individuals.
Conversely, the casinos in the territory have leveraged AI and facial recognition to specifically address gambling addiction and bar such individuals from gaining entry into properties.
AI in Online Casinos
AI is not only leveraged to help with keeping customers at physicals casinos away from harm. The technology can be successfully used to track activity online, as a recent the Guardian investigation revealed.
Based on the newspaper’s findings, a number of British sportsbooks, collectively known as bookies, have been misusing AI solutions to keep customers playing. Plus, some industry leaders have proven to be less worthy of the title as such. Another investigation launched by the daily revealed that sportsbooks in the United Kingdom have been selling e-mails and names of hundreds of thousands of people to third-party companies.
Meanwhile, GamStop, the national’s self-exclusion scheme was exposed as inefficient in a separate BBC investigation.
The Importance of Saving Lives
The incidence of people committing suicide over gambling debt has been increasing. Teenagers as young as 18 have been known to commit suicide over something as insignificant as $5,750 in gambling debt. In another case, a young accountant at PwC jumped out of a window because of incurring heavy losses. The young man’s gambling habits have spiraled out of control, pushing him into new debts to the point where he took his own life. Regardless of the bottom line, casinos and sportsbooks should only leverage technology to improve safety and offer better customer care. Even one life lost due to gambling is already one life too much.
Instead of luring players into debt, casinos in Macau and beyond will need to find out new and creative ways to help people who have strayed from the right path.
All in all, automated solutions like AI and blockchain can give regulators and operators insight into the gambling industry, allowing them to create a “picture” of the problem gambler. Various apps, projects, and campaigns are beginning to use this technology to level the playing field for everyone. Their mission is to work alongside gambling companies to make gambling safer and better regulated, so those vulnerable to gambling addiction can be better protected.
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