2021 is already witnessing the rising adoption of blockchain and AI technology across all industries. You can use it for anything from controlling your household applications remotely to tracking your dog’s daily activities. But can it be used to help problem gamblers at a time when their addiction is being exacerbated by the pandemic?
There are many ways to identify a gambling addiction. The most common signs and symptoms include the need to gamble with more money to experience any excitement and unsuccessful attempts to reduce or stop gambling. Problem gamblers will also lie about their activities and borrow money to gamble.
Like any other addiction, gambling offers an escape from reality. Although it might seem harmless at first, over time, it can have serious financial consequences, destroy relationships, and lead to more severe psychological and even physical problems.
How can technology help?
There are many built-in features at online casinos and betting sites that can give the player some control of their gambling. However, at the end of the day, it’s the player who makes the decisions. Some places have limits on how much you can deposit and allow you to set limits on how much time you spend gambling. But problem gamblers can override these settings at any time.
This is where AI technology comes in. It will interpret raw data and results, making decisions based on number-crunching. One company in the UK, Entain, is doing just that by leveraging big data to create a system that can protect problem gamblers from themselves. The system, known as the Advanced Protection and Care (ARC), can preemptively flag and cut off players by partially disabling their access to prevent them from harming their finances.
So by relying on AI, the idea is to take a preventative approach by monitoring gamblers and adjusting their playing experience accordingly. When someone starts displaying erratic behavior and is obviously on a losing streak, AI can alert customer service to intervene. By providing a safety net for problem gamblers, technology can go a long way to help those afflicted with a gambling addiction.
When will it be implemented?
There are a few companies already developing AI specifically for this purpose. Mindway AI, for example, is combining elements of neuroscience with AI in order to develop an innovative solution for problem gambling. By taking a more scientific approach, Mindway AI will use psychologists and experts in related fields to further enhance their product. The software will crosscheck the hordes of data that come from players with the opinions of experts to prevent problem gambling before the player is even aware of their destructive habit.
As it stands now, most gambling platforms offer limited options for gamblers that want to limit their spending and address their habit. The only other option is closing the account, which most compulsive gamblers won’t do.
The good news is there are new tools such as GameChanger, which was recently developed by Mindway AI. In a nutshell, it attempts to teach players, in a somewhat Pavlovian way, how to kick the gambling habit. It does this by presenting a sequence of both gambling and non-gambling images to the player. The software then calculates how many non-gambling pictures were missed and how well the player did to avoid clicking on gambling images.
With some basic psychological conditioning and training, players can start learning to control their impulses. This can help them break gambling habits.
How about Blockchain?
The integration of blockchain technology in the gambling industry is another game changer. The most important thing that it brings to the table is transparency, which is desperately needed as gambling legislation varies around the world. Gambling contracts would use blockchain to ensure that the information isn’t tampered with and open to the public. This could help create a more solid legal framework for gambling operations all over the world, by eliminating the human factor and allowing public scrutiny.
Secondly, blockchain goes hand in hand with AI, allowing it to access data and gambler statistics in real-time. This streamlines the entire process from early detection of a problem gambler to intervention. Blockchain enables vast amounts of data to travel faster and more securely, making it fundamental for the development of AI and software to address problem gambling.
In short, the combination of AI and blockchain technology is already helping address gambling addiction. Although it’s still early in the game, and there are only a few tools on the market, this technology has immense implications on the gambling world. They can finally address issues that have plagued the gambling industry for many years: addiction and comprehensive regulations. While AI can help solve the former, blockchain will help with the development of more transparent regulations.