In 2017, the artificial intelligence (AI) engine Libratus defeated four world’s most renowned gamblers in a 20-day poker contest. This was, indeed, an industry-defining moment for both the gambling and AI worlds.
Since this victory, data analytics and machine learning have increasingly been applied in improving the world of gambling, detecting fraudsters, and curating personalized experiences for players. And with particular respect to online gambling, the opportunities for increased AI application in the future are nothing short of exciting if used correctly.
AI and iGaming: Current applications
AI is present in every sphere of human activity today. From education and work to entertainment and social media, decisions are made by algorithms capable of learning from the past and predicting the future. The AI market was valued at $328.34 billion in 2021 and is projected to hit almost $1.4 trillion by 2029. iGaming is set to contribute significantly to this increase.
Casino gaming, poker, eSports, and sports betting continue to evolve based on AI. There are more opportunities for online play, platforms are more easily maintained, and players remain engaged on systems that respond with remarkable speed. These and many other advancements are why the online gaming industry is currently worth more than $60 billion.
Artificial intelligence works in iGaming by collecting, analysing, and drawing patterns from several categories of user data. Like social media, it tries to decipher user preferences by tracking such elements as the games they frequently play and their bid spending.
AI also studies the odds of past and present bets and attempts multiple extrapolations to determine future odds. And depending on the type of game, AI algorithms will seek to compare actions and performance among several players. Using such information, the game can optimise for player preferences and tailor the game to each player, thereby preventing churn.
With a better customer experience comes an increase in sales and ratings. But it doesn’t end there. Using AI, iGaming companies can find and reward loyal customers.
This could be through gaming bonuses, special offers, and increased player autonomy. For example, when looking at online casino bonuses in Michigan on websites such as gambling.com and other newly regulated states, websites and apps already collate the best bonus and promo codes for new and existing players. Through AI, such services can be elevated even further to provide customers with everything they need to get the most out of their casino/sports betting experience.
AI can show players new offers and bonuses are selected based on their gaming preferences, further improving the player’s journey throughout the game. This strategy could also be employed by specific betting companies to attract new players and thus boost their brand return on investment (ROI).
With AI, it is easy to translate structured and unstructured data into odds. For iGaming that depends on real people — sports betting algorithms ensure that game players act with the most accurate information. Thus, sports fans and other players alike enjoy top-tier gaming experiences.
But perhaps the most significant application of AI algorithms is in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy. All online services are constantly under threat of malicious attacks, and in the case of online gambling, such attacks could affect not only the platforms but also the players.
AI prevents this by studying the patterns of past episodes, amassing data from several gaming platforms, and constantly refining the training data to allow only legal actions to be performed in games. More specifically, AI could also pinpoint fraudsters, money launderers, and data thieves and permanently ban them from gaming platforms.
A potential future
With developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies going forward, integrating AI into iGaming could become less expensive. Currently, several platform providers and gambling companies are being limited by the number of resource investments necessary to transform a business from ordinarily digital to AI-enabled.
Better and more cost-effective machine learning models are the ideal solution, especially when they are tailored to the iGaming industry. To prevent errors in implementation, companies, platforms, and even game software developers are responsible for ensuring that data fed into AI systems are as free from bias as possible.
Similarly, AI could afford iGaming companies the opportunity to diversify the games they offer. Expanding from today’s sports betting and casino games, platforms could provide bets on social media trends, celebrity news, auctions, and even speculative currencies.
These applications would increase the scope of iGaming and change the public outlook on regulated betting. For instance, betting companies could leverage AI to provide odds on the value of cryptocurrencies after a certain period using previous data on the cryptocurrency’s value changes. And if done correctly, such developments could increase the iGaming industry’s market cap beyond projected values.
While the iGaming world continues to anticipate novel developments powered by AI, it is not out of place to expect the co-application of AI with other emerging technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR) promise new dimensions of iGaming — especially with the rise and expansion of the metaverse — just as they allow for more immersive experiences. Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are altering how players, platform providers, and betting companies think about gambling.
With the penetration of each of these technologies into the gambling space, it is up to the stakeholders and regulators of the iGaming industry to ensure that responsible gambling is upheld in the online space. At this current pace, we’re sure that AI will play a significant role not only in gambling and iGaming, but across all sectors in the years to come.