AI – A Guarantee For A Safer Gaming Sector
Artificial Intelligence and all the potential opportunities it can bring to the country are pretty much the talk of town right now. Beyond the buzzword and the fanfare surrounding this technology, AI cab considered as a strategic tool that will bring a huge shift in the way we will start approaching the world we live in.
From how we are seeing the market responding, people have already acknowledged the disruption and the substantial changes in the way we work, live and play that this technology is bound to bring to our everyday life. We just need to look at ways how to respond and ride the wave of opportunities.
One of these opportunities is using AI, which is a newcomer in our economy, to support a sector which is already very huge in Malta – iGaming. Growing a sector does not mean letting go of something which is already a pillar in our economy.
That Malta wants to become a centre of excellence in the field of AI is already very positive. That it is currently drawing up a national strategy for AI is even more encouraging. The potential is there. Malta’s small size has always proved ideal to attract operators to use us a test-base when it came to try new products. When it comes to regulation, we have always offered a comfortable degree of flexibility. We hope that if we manage to attract a huge player in AI, others will follow suit.
However, as with all innovations, we now need to start demystifying the idea of AI and reducing the fear there exists in order to fully embrace the opportunities of this technology.
Over the past weeks, we at NOUV have kicked off a debate on how AI can support a better and safer iGaming sector. We have been looking at other jurisdictions such as the UK and Sweden and how these countries have been gradually fostering an environment that seeks a balance between the gamers’ interests and safety and the interests of gaming operators. Sweden for example, has made social responsibility and responsible gaming as the cornerstones of its Swedish Gaming Act.
Whereas we have noticed a rise in investment when it comes to compliance and player protection, training costs, technology and human monitoring are financially challenging. This is where outsourcing AI-enabled technology platforms could help sift through the huge volumes of data which humans simply would not have the man power to analyse.
Parallel with this, AI encourages industry collaboration through sharing of data to help operators identify the more intricate problem gambling patterns. This is why in Malta, licencees are now obliged to have monitoring systems that detect problem gambling.
A case in point concerns an online gaming consumer in the UK who in 730 days lost over £750,000. When the case was being investigated, the gaming operator had 22 opportunities to help the client redress the situation. Eventually, the gaming operator was fined £2 million.
Surely this is not the path that local operators would want to be emulating. As we experience a shift in where gaming is being made available, such as through social platforms and esports, we need to keep in mind that the top priority remains that of safeguarding the consumer in the interest of the industry at large.
Whilst the regulator’s responsibility remains that of safeguarding the image of the industry, operators too have an intrinsic role to play and they need to be serious about their commitment through concrete actions. They need to ensure that consumers are protected by investing in right people and solutions. They can do so by looking at the opportunities offered by tools that include AI capabilities. These tools could be expensive and AI expertise might not be readily available. However, outsourcing AI expertise is possible, and this can give access to a global pool of data.
The ultimate goal for Malta is to create a safe gaming environment and this should be the main commitment for all operators. Removing safety from igaming could eventually prove much more expensive for the country.