Tech makes us happy. Tech makes us sad. Tech makes the world go around. One type of tech that has risen to popularity over the past 10 or so years is online casinos. Online casinos offer much of the same experience as a physical casino, but all from your laptop on your couch, or on the way to work.
But, much like physical gambling, online casino gambling has the potential to cause players to dive deep into the depths of addiction; perhaps even more so than traditional casinos, as the opportunity is there to play at any time. There’s no need to travel on over to the casino, it’s all there waiting for you, wherever you are, at any time of day.
That’s why it’s so important that there are stops put in place to help deal with online casino gambling addiction. Fortunately, there are various technologies that can be deployed that can help combat addiction, hopefully before it takes a vice-like grip on a player.
Let’s take a closer look at some technologies that are helping to combat online casino gambling addiction.
Like land casinos, online casinos offer self-exclusion programs that help problem gamblers to deal with their addiction. These self-exclusion programs lock customers out of their online gambling account. Generally, the player may set a date to self-exclude for, or an indefinite exclusion. Because of account and identity checks, this makes it much harder for players to play at their favourite casino.
While it’s still possible to log in, say, from a friend’s account on a different IP, or even sign up to a different casino, it still makes it harder to play. The UK has a multi-provider self-exclusion program, GAMSTOP, that is designed to cover as many different providers as possible, making it harder for UK players to get around the self-exclusion loopholes.
Online casinos also offer ‘soft’ self-exclusion programs, whereby a player can set themselves a time out, from 24 hours up to six months. It’s easy enough to configure, a click of a button, and you’re in a mini timeout.
However, similar to self-exclusion programs, the onus here is on the player to set up the tech to help curb their addictive behaviour.
AI to identify problem gambling
Online casinos have a wealth of big data at their fingertips. They can identify players habits such as:
- Time spent gambling in a session
- Time spent gambling in a day/week/month
- Money spent in a session
- Money spent in a day/week/month
- Increasing amounts of time spent gambling
- Increasing amounts of money spent gambling
- Use of an increasing number of payment avenues
- And more
These sorts of statistics are harder to track to identify problem gamblers in a physical casino. It’ll generally be up to floor staff to see if someone’s been gaming for 24 hours straight. Online, all that information is available instantly.
If there are regulations in place within a specific jurisdiction that require online casinos to identify and restrict problem gamblers, they can automatically cut off players, freeze their accounts, cash out their winnings, etc.
This is all able to be automated with the help of AI. It’s not tricky to do, and casinos already have all this information stored in their servers.
Why casinos are not compelled to deploy AI to stop addiction
Of course, where these types of rules are not in place to deter problem gamblers, casinos are left to their own devices. Why would they cut off a player spending plenty of their money at the casino if they don’t have to?
This is why it’s up to legislators to ensure casino houses have these types of rules in place. Sure, the house may always win, but we don’t want to create a society of addicts. Gambling addicts can lose everything in the same way that drug addicts can: their jobs, their relationships, their houses, their life savings.
NoDepositExplorer, an advocate for fair gambling has this to say, “It’s time for casino houses to really step up to the plate to protect their players more. It’s not a difficult step to take to identify potential problem gamblers and help them to deal with their gameplay issues. Responsible gaming is what will keep the industry healthy. Players who are addicts need help before they realise what a problem their gaming has become – not afterwards.”
There is a lot of tech that can be deployed (and will be in the future) to help the gaming industry stay a fun and safe place for all. While the UK is currently one of the bigger role models in the space, with online gambling taking off in the US, we may well see companies here take the lead in the space.