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Machine Learning And Gambling Addictions

We all know that computer technology is advancing on a daily basis. One major area of development is machine learning, which is also classified as A.I. (or “artificial intelligence”). Anyone who uses a social media network or a website is already exposed to this, as feeds and advertisers learn your behaviors and serve you content based on your interests. Well, this type of tech is prominent in the gambling world too; in some ways helping addictions and in some ways furthering them.


The website Innovation and Tech Today published an interesting article about gambling and machine learning, offering two sides of the story. The emphasis is on betting machines and gaming sites and the algorithms they use to identify problem gamblers. Obviously the goal of any casino is to make a profit, so it’s not surprising to hear that they use these machines to encourage spending.


The concept is, if someone is playing video poker, for example, certain triggers can be pulled to entice them to stay at the machine with win/loss calculations. In casinos offers can be put forth as well, depending on behaviors. To keep people enticed, there could be free food coupons dispersed; but, per machine learning, only if it appears as though the user is losing interest in the game.


Gaming sites follow this model as well, with advertiser offers and enticements to keep people playing; even if they appear to be losing. This, of course, fuels addiction and can create serious problems for someone with compulsive tendencies.


On the flip side, though, the article also touches on ways that A.I. can help problem gamblers. If these machines can detect when someone is going too far or exhibiting addictive behavior, then they can also steer them away from it. Identifying dependent players can also help push them towards recovery; if the proper messaging is exhibited.


Recovery advocate Angie Harper was interviewed for the Innovation and Tech piece. She believes that there can be benefits to using machine learning for problem gamblers. But, with profits front and center for casinos, it may be up to local legislators to implement that type of technology.


“Machine learning has many benefits for players,” she explained to the site. “But don’t be fooled, it can also help the casinos take you to the cleaners. Strict government regulation is crucial on how machine learning can be used else we might have an explosion of gambling addiction.”