There’s no doubt that we’re in the reign of technology. The amount of innovation that has taken place just in the past 20 years is astounding, to say nothing of what we’ve built in the past 50 or 100 years. The incredible pace of today’s technological advancements can be intimidating for some, and we’ve all felt the frustration of finally getting on board with the latest gadget, only to find out it’s obsolete by the time you walk out of the store.
Still, the inconvenience of a continuous learning curve pales in comparison to the many doors that are opened by new technology. Today’s latest tech buzz word – artificial intelligence, or A.I. – seems to become more advanced by the day, and it’s gradually being integrated into every industry in one way or another. The gambling industry is no exception, so we’re taking a closer look at artificial intelligence for games and how it may affect the gaming industry.
What is A.I.?
Clearly, you need to understand the basics of A.I. before you can grasp the effect it can have. Artificial intelligence is just a sophisticated level of computer programming that allows for automatic collection and analysis of data. As A.I. gets into more advanced stages, programmers and software engineers are striving to give it more and more reasoning and “thinking” ability.
The more advanced A.I. programs are able to continuously add to their knowledge base, essentially “learning” from every experience they have and every operation they complete. For example, facial recognition software is a type of A.I. With every face they scan, these programs add to their database and learn more about the intricacies of human facial features so it can distinguish between faces at a more sophisticated level in the future.
While A.I. has already started to become ingrained in the gambling industry, it also has the potential to have a much greater influence in the coming years in several ways:
A.I. can produce a more realistic experience in online gaming against a computer
One of the great benefits of online gambling is that if you want to play a traditionally person-v.-person game but you also want some solitary time, you can play against a computer. In their earlier days, these player-v.-computer games were frustratingly predictable. A.I., however, is giving them a much more intellectual and varied, lifelike touch.
In fact, a 20-day tournament of Texas Hold’em was held just this year, pitting an advanced, poker-focused A.I. against some of the world’s best poker players. After a marathon of 120,000 rounds, the A.I. was up by more than $1.7 million – even in a game that largely relies on reading people and their reactions.
A.I. can more accurately predict odds for sports betting
Calculating odds for sports betting involves much more than just looking at team rankings. Those who set the odds well have complicated formulas and extensive observations, but it’s still an imperfect art. That’s where A.I. is so beneficial. An advanced system can consider the countless variables that could create the right atmosphere for an upset.
A.I. can help online casinos cater the experience to each gambler
Brick-and-mortar casinos have done extensive research to determine the best way to lay out and organize their casino floors – what features can draw in more visitors, what factors make a gambler want to stay longer and spend more, etc. A.I. can do the same for online casinos, and at a more micro-level. By observing the type of games you enjoy and the factors that seem to motivate you to play, online casinos can give you a more personalized experience.
A.I. can combat gambling addiction
As much fun as gambling can be for some, it can be addicting for others. Modern A.I. can be programmed to look for certain behavior patterns that may indicate a gambling addiction. One system has been developed by the University of London, The Kindred Group, and BetBuddy. This unique tool can recognize the signs of gambling addiction, alert both the gambler and the casino, and even offer tools to help an early problem get under control, such as spending limits.
A.I. can detect cheating … and also offer new ways to cheat
A.I’s forte is picking up on behavioral patterns, and there are certain patterns that indicate a higher likelihood of cheating. It’s extremely difficult for a human to be observant enough to catch the signs, but for an A.I., that’s just an average Tuesday. However, A.I. isn’t just limited to casinos and large companies.
There are plenty of everyday consumers who have built or purchased A.I. systems, and these programs are sometimes able to “fool” cheat-detection software. As A.I. stays at the forefront of technology, both consumer and business systems will get more advanced, and it’s likely we’ll see a “battle of wits” of sorts, with both A.I.s trying to trick each other.
A.I. can learn how to keep gamblers interested
As we mentioned above, the main capability of A.I. is recognizing and analyzing patterns, and this includes the behavior patterns of gamblers. For instance, if you enjoy playing slot machines, an A.I. system can track how long you typically play, and how much you’re willing to lose, before you move on. This gives the casino an edge because it can find out the types of machines to recommend in order to keep you interested.
A.I. can detect fraudulent payment information in online casinos
Unless you’re in massive denial, you know that fraudulent credit card use and bank account use online is an extremely prevalent problem. At a casino, a thief can do some serious damage to a person’s credit cards and bank accounts in a short period of time. A.I. systems may be able to actually compare your behavioral patterns each time you log into your account so that they can detect when someone else may be using your account.
For instance, if you’re a fan of the small-dollar slot machines and suddenly your account starts betting hundreds of dollars at a time on high-stakes games, the A.I. can alert you on your cell phone if it believes your account is being used fraudulently.
A.I. can attract more millennials to the gambling industry
Millennials are the generation that grew up with technology and has spent their lives watching one innovation after another. This has given many of them a fascination with technology, and the simple draw of seeing advanced programs at work can draw them into casinos that use A.I. However, it remains to be seen if the addition of more and more technology will have a negative impact on the Baby boomers and future aging generations.
Artificial intelligence has already had a huge impact on so many different industries in the United States and abroad. While the course of history remains to be seen, it’s a fascinating journey to watch as it continues to bring new levels of advancement into the gambling industry. We look forward to seeing how both online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos use this advancing A.I. to enhance the gaming experience, maintain stable profits, and look out for gamblers who are either at risk for addiction or falling victim to a hacker.