Despite high profile opposition from individuals like Elon Musk, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has continued to gain prominence in our daily lives. As more and more human activities migrate to the digital sphere, smarter AI becomes even more essential.
Any business sector with a stake online will find itself increasingly impacted by advancements in AI research. iGaming is particularly vulnerable, as virtually all its core activities are performed over the internet.
Why AI is important to online businesses
Online businesses need AI because they tend to accumulate vast amounts of data about customers, partners, services, and other interactions. These troves of data are widely considered to be the “new oil” – a precious commodity of the future.
To mine these data mountains for usable information, we need AI. In turn, AI researchers need vast amounts of data to train their algorithms to “become smarter.” They use advanced techniques like machine learning and natural language programming to create AI software that is getting smarter with each passing day.
Types of AI deployment in online casinos
The online casino industry has many areas where advanced AI could prove to be extremely beneficial. In fact, the industry has already started adopting AI in recent years to improve productivity, revenue generation, and customer satisfaction. Here are a few notable examples:
- Customer Care – Live Chat
Online casinos cater to players from all over the globe. Maintaining a 24×7 live chat helpline becomes essential when you have customers in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Maintaining a human staff for this purpose will cost a lot of money.
Chatbots are AI-powered software with the ability to hold intelligent conversations with human beings. While the more advanced versions can perform voice chat, the more popular ones widely used by many online businesses are text-based.
Their early versions were often hilariously bad, but things have improved considerably over the years. These days, chatbots can easily fool people into thinking that they are chatting with a person.
Such AI chatbots are perfectly suited for online casino support teams. These bots do not get tired and single software can continuously handle multiple clients. They can also be trained to be very effective in providing support information and troubleshooting guidance.
By using these chatbots, casinos can improve customer satisfaction, leading to player retention. The subsequent cost savings could also prove crucial in a highly competitive industry with fine margins.
- Big Data Analysis
Casinos are always looking for ways to provide highly personalized service to clients, especially big rollers. Using AI, these companies can now look at the vast tranches of data they hold. This big data can reveal new insights into player behavior, their preferences, and tastes.
When you have more in-depth information about a customer, you can easily provide them with improved services. In a casino context, this could be personalized bonuses and perks that activate at the exact moment when a person feels the need.
The data could also be used to suggest games that a player might enjoy, based on their past gaming preferences. Incidentally, the prediction algorithms we see and appreciate on platforms like Netflix do the same thing. We could see similar sophisticated experiences at online casinos as well.
The net effect of all these on revenues should be very positive. If you can keep them happy and satisfied, casino players tend to be very loyal customers indeed.
- Preventing Problem Gambling
Casinos get a bad reputation due to the menace of problem gambling. But, no casino wants to see their players end up in financial ruin – it just does not make sound business sense at all. This is where AI has shown a whole lot of promise in helping prevent gambling addiction in vulnerable players.
There are known and predictable patterns of behavior associated with problem gamblers. AI which has been trained to pick up such signs of gambling and spending activity can keep an eye on the betting patterns of online players at a casino.
Like bouncers in a bar, these digital sentinels can warn the casino operators and other concerned bodies when a player shows signs of gambling addiction. This information could be used to help that person avoid problem gambling. Such a system has already shown considerable promise in the UK, which has a huge issue of problem gambling.
AI Can Also Have a Negative Effect
There are always two sides to a coin. AI is not a wholly benevolent force that brings peace and prosperity to all. Unfortunately, like many technological innovations, its impact depends on who deploys it, and how it is deployed. Here are some ways in which AI can negatively impact parts of the casino industry.
- AI arms race?
Cutting edge technologies like AI tend to be very expensive, especially in the early stages. Only the bigger players with deep pockets will be able to truly benefit from it. It is evident that big brand operators are already taking advantage of AI to increase revenues and profitability, something small players will struggle to do.
This could lead to a situation of haves and have nots. The bigger brands will use their AI capabilities to grow, at the expense of smaller players who struggle to stay in the green. With the ongoing economic instability in the world, the effect would be a “thinning of the iGambling herd.”
- Casinos at the receiving end
AI is a dual-edged blade that can cut both ways. Just as casinos can use it to make smarter algorithms and services, hackers and criminals could also use it to break into casino networks and wreak havoc.
But more than outright security breaches and hacks, the most worrying aspect of AI misuse is in the ancient art of card-counting. Modern online casinos use complex algorithms to randomize results and prevent players from predicting the next big win.
This could be countered with a smart AI that has been taught to read the patterns of slot games. Casinos could lose significant revenues if such software becomes commonplace and easily accessible online.
It is clear that AI can have both positive and negative effects on the health of online casino business in the near future. Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, the use of AI in online businesses is only expected to accelerate. With casinos shut and folks cooped up indoors, there is more demand on online casinos than ever before. AI adoption is bound to gather pace as a result of this viral pandemic.