Artificial Intelligence in gaming machines

Recently in the UK, there have been changes made in regards to gaming machines in betting shops. The machines' software has been updated in order to find problematic behaviors among players.  

 You might be asking how the new software works. When a player becomes erratic or problematic, the system detects them and locks the players out of the machine for 30 seconds. 

 While they are locked out, the screen prompts information about warnings on the importance of safe gambling. 

 According to Baranuik, "the artificial intelligence (AI) Anonymous Player Awareness System was launched this month by the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), an industry group representing 90% of the UK betting and gaming market." (Baraniuk 2019) 

 Besides detecting erratic or problematic behavior, it focuses on trying to identify loses, how long a player spends time on a single machine, and "playing a succession of games rapidly." (Baraniuk 2019) A spokesman for Betfred told the BBC their machines at all their 1,600 shops had updated software since the beginning of November. 

A spokesman for Ladbrokes Coral stated that "These alerts are now operational on machines in all 3,200 Ladbrokes and Coral shops." (Baraniuk 2019) 

According to the BGC, thousands of shops have installed the software on their betting machines.

When there is an "enforced break" from the betting machine triggered, an alert is sent out to the staff working at these betting shops.

Depending on the betting shop and staff, they might go and check up on the player and see if any issues have resided.

The BGC, as stated that for players with personal accounts, has already been rolled out. The analysis would take into account any previous behavior deemed problematic.

The "live behavioural analysis has now been extended to anyone using a betting terminal, whether they log in or not." (Baraniuk 2019)

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While the screen is "enforced break," the screen advises them to limit their betting.

There is a bit of speculation as to how effective these breaks will limit problematic behavior among players.

 Mark Griffiths, professor of behavioural addiction at Nottingham Trent University, stated, "This is a step in the right direction but obviously needs to be monitored and evaluated." (Baraniuk 2019) 

 He thinks that the "enforced break" is not beneficial due to the current duration.

 Mr. Griffiths and his colleagues did a study on Norwegian gaming machines to determine whether the "enforced break" limit of 90 seconds could derail the problematic behavior among players. The result found that there was "no significant effect" (Baraniuk 2019) on the amount of money played among the times the players gambled or the duration of the session. 

Work Cited

Baraniuk, Chris. “UK Gambling Machines Loaded with AI 'Cool off' System.” BBC News, BBC, 20 Nov. 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50486835. 

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