UNITED STATES—With the expansion of all forms of gambling in the UK moving forward, there are renewed efforts throughout the UK gambling industry to put protections in place for possible problem gamblers. The most recent effort moving towards 2020 comes from the Betting and Gaming Council. The council has introduced an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program called the Anonymous Player Awareness System (APAS).
The program has been designed to detect when problem gambling behaviour become apparent as it applies to the gambling machines being offered in retail betting outlets across the UK. If the AI program detects issues such as a gambler chasing losses, playing erratically or too long or speeding up betting while losing, the machine will automatically shut down. The shutdown period (cooling off period) is only 30 seconds, but it does set off bells and whistles to alert the gambler and the gambling outlet there might be an issue.
Applying This Technology to an Online Gambling Environment
At this point, it’s important to stress that no one is trying to disparage gamblers or gambling. There are simply antigambling factions and government regulators (UK Gambling Commission) that want to make sure problem gambling does not hurt gamblers or society in general.
Should the aforementioned AI technology prove to be effective at the retail level, it’s likely to get implemented in online gambling environments. If this should happen, casinos might get launched to include such measures. That information would come from relaunched casino experts that would be tracking said activities. The primary reason online gambling operators should be in favour of such measures is as an offset to offset the UK Gambling Commission’s never ending drive to force more regulations on the online gambling community.
Clearly, there are still concerns related to problem gambling issues that might crop up because of problem gamblers having easy and unfettered access to online gambling options. Anything the industry can do to police itself is going to give the UKGC fewer reasons to intervene.
Currently, there are online gambling opponents that are seeking restrictions on the amount online casino gamblers can wager on the single roll of the dice, spin of a wheel or reel or the flip of a card. The conversation is moving towards limits as low as a £2 stakes cap on online slots. That number could just as easily be applied to Roulette, Craps, Blackjack, Baccarat or any other online casino game of chance.
The implementation of such limits could prove disastrous for the online casino industry. If the Anonymous Player Awareness System’s AI could do something to ensure protections are in place, it makes sense that such measures would be welcome by new sites for all players everywhere in the world.
When asked about this new AI initiative, interim chief executive, Wes Himes, stated: the AI initiative was “an opportunity to champion the highest standards and share best practice on safe betting and gaming, and we hope these measures are a sign of intent.”
He later added, “I’m convinced that this approach can help restore public trust, and I look forward to working on further betting and gaming initiatives across the industry,”