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How AI can prevent problematic gambling in mobile sports betting

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Placing a sports bet or joining an online casino game has never been easier. The evolution of smartphones and mobile app technologies allows you to place bets and play games from anywhere, even from the comfort of your own home.

Currently mobile sports betting is legal in 25 States and the District of Columbiawhile iGaming is available in six states. The numbers will grow as several states have laws on mobile sports betting and iGaming.

As mobile gambling grows, gambling is becoming a major concern for government officials, health professionals, gambling operators, communities and other stakeholders.

For most people, gambling is a form of entertainment where players have control over the time and money they spend. However, it can be problematic with potentially serious consequences.

Operators are aware of the need to be proactive and invest in innovative technologies to reach out to players showing signs of problem gambling. Investments in new technologies are critical to the long-term health of the industry, where further expansion through more states and products depends on operator action in this area.

Developing common standards for identifying and managing players who engage in risky behavior has been shown to: no negative outcomes for non-problem gamblers while building trust among consumers who value brands that increase player safety, and helping to create distance between regulated and offshore entities.

Know the odds

In the first quarter of 2022, mobile sports betting and iGaming earned $2.79 billion in revenue, nearly 20% of all gaming revenue. Mobile Sports Betting good for $1.58 billion of that amount.

For gaming operators, a larger user base and adoption comes with more responsibility. As a result, growing revenue streams are being scrutinized and public sentiment towards the industry will deteriorate rapidly, as in other global markets if they see no action. Allow risky behavior go unchecked will lead to significant costs for gambling operators in the form of negative brand equity, stricter regulations and increased friction in the player experience.

Responsible gaming programs are a good start, but putting too much of the responsibility on the player for safe gambling will not be enough to assure lawmakers and the public that the industry is proactive.

With innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, operators have access to more data, enabling them to engage players and alert them to potential signs of gambling problem.

Related: Fantasy Gaming and Betting on Esports to Have a Good Run

Protect players

While it’s easy to see that protective strategies can affect winnings, protecting players – or at least interacting more with players about their gambling activity – achieves long-term commercial results that will improve customer loyalty.

Imagine a new user signing up for a sports betting account. They lose $1,000 in the first month and decide it’s time to quit and never bet again. Compare that to a player betting $500 a year for three years. They are a more profitable player than someone who gambles excessively because they are consistent and loyal, and they have their bets aligned with their budget to be placed over time.

There is a strong argument that facilitating more recreational healthy behavior is better from a revenue point of view. It improves the user experience and opens the door to referrals, positive reviews and more.

Related: As the sports betting industry transforms, entrepreneurs may find it hard to make betting winnings — but related businesses will thrive

Know your customer

A better understanding of players and their behavior allows operators to more effectively communicate with them about their game, including sharing information about their gambling habits at the right time. Providing players with resources to let them know what they are spending over time to make informed decisions about their gambling activities is a powerful tool that generates goodwill, positive brand equity and better income through sustainable play.

Operators must securely collect and verify a consumer’s personal information at account registration to comply with robust KYC regulations. Identification is the first step to understanding the player, and combining gaming habits with identity information is a powerful tool for making responsible decisions.

Understanding an individual’s context is crucial. If a 21-year-old student with student loans puts in more than $5,000 each month, there is evidence of problematic behavior that could have a lasting impact on his financial future. Having this information about a player allows operators to specific measures and guarantees such as offering a time-out period or setting deposit limits on user accounts.

Operators can also offer monthly statements to show how much money a player has lost (or won) in a month. By making the player aware of what is happening, they can decide whether to set limits for themselves or take a break from gambling. By giving players access to all their stats, they can make more informed decisions.

Related: ESPN Reportedly Investigating $3 Billion Sports Betting Deal

Market for healthy behaviour

Operators tailor-made marketing and engagement based on user activity and behavior. They use this to make marketing offers for the sports team that a player supports, identify or flag fraud when a player’s account has been compromised, and encourage healthy habits by providing responsible gaming content.

For players who engage in risky behavior, technology is now available to identify and reduce this behavior. For consumers who make the bold decision to exclude themselves, operators can take measures to prevent these players from viewing marketing materials within specific channels, making their transition to no-gambling activity much easier as they are not tempted by tempting offers.

To be successful and sustainable in the long term, operators must continue to invest in data and technology that protect players. The path to a sustainable industry requires increased public trust and reassurance from lawmakers by demonstrating that player protection is an ongoing investment for operators as their revenues grow.

Whether it’s responsible gaming, marketing or fraud prevention – more data means better choices, healthier habits and loyal customers.

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