As online gambling is becoming more popular people are beginning to voice concerns for the well-being of the players. Gambling is known to cause addiction problems, and there is currently no system in place for helping to care for players who are participating in online gambling activities. Since one cannot directly see the players, it can be tough to know when someone has an addiction problem. This, combined with the fact that a player can visit any site they like and are unable to be tracked, can become a real issue. To counteract this, The City University London is working with analytics software company BetBuddy to upgrade the current computer models for understanding and predicting the psychological pathways to gambling addiction.
The system tracks each player’s gambling habits, and when they begin to show signs of risk, various actions can be taken. The data could be used by marketers to stop showing gambling ads when the user has surpassed the addiction point, or the player themselves can use it. Each user can set the system to block them from various online gambling sites if they are becoming too addicted. This should help players gamble online safely without falling into addiction patterns.
The way that this program works is by tracking players’ gambling patterns and measuring them against data from previous players who have already asked online gambling sites to block them. Over time, the system will continue to learn more about various individual’s routines and ultimately it could be used to protect all online gambling players.
This research is funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, through their data exploration program. In the UK, systems such as these have not been known to work well in the past. However, UK gambling providers are all required to provide the self-exclusion option. According to Dr. Artur Garcez of City University London, “Our aim has been to help BetBuddy test and refine their system so that it gives providers an effective way of predicting at an earlier stage self-exclusion as well as other signals or events that indicate harm in gambling. This enables customers to use online gambling platforms more securely and responsibly.”
If the program works as well as Dr. Garcez believes it could, then it may be just what the industry needs. With online gambling options becoming more widespread throughout the US, a system such as this could be just what legislators are looking for to regulate properly the online gambling industry. If gambling providers are required to offer self-exclusion options, and gambling marketers have to limit ads that they can run in front of certain problem case customers, things just might work out for the best.
In this way, we can care for the needs of each online gambler as well as provide legitimate options for legal gambling. Once a proper taxation system is set up along with data such as the Betbuddy system, there is hope that online gambling addiction can become a thing of the past.