For Joshua Tromans-Jones, CTO and co-founder at AI-focused iGaming software provider Jada Gaming, the potential of the technology to help iGaming companies is almost endless.
He set up the company, alongside Alberto Alfieri who now serves as COO and CEO, just over a year ago, after they noticed, working with a number of companies in the affiliation and operator verticals, that the same challenges kept cropping up again and again.
These problems ranged from early VIP detection, to gambling and bonus abuse, and market optimisation as well.
Companies were also struggling to predict lifetime player value, as well as churn, because they did not have the technical abilities to do so.
The pair then decided to embark on commercialising their solutions, and subsequently, Jada was born.
Mr Tromans-Jones sits down with iGamingCapital.mt for a remote interview (complete with a virtual office background behind him), to discuss the benefits of AI in iGaming, its’ limitations, and where it is going.
Asked about the benefits of artificial intelligence, he first provides the example of VIP detection.
As things stand, he says, companies often rely on static rules-based systems to detect lucrative VIP customers.
“What that means is that if for example a customer in their first month of play spends over a certain threshold, the programme will flag them as a VIP,” he says.
However, this rudimentary approach has notable shortcomings.
“The problem is that you could have a particularly heavy VIP come in, spend just under the threshold on one bet, then leave – as they didn’t get the customer care or attention they desired.
“It’s quite evident that they should have been classed as VIPs, but the static and rules based systems will often not recognise it,” he expands.
However, using AI systems, an operator can detect VIPs much more reliably.
“The technology analyses lots of data on past transactions, to work out which characteristics indicate that a player will go on to become a VIP.
“It identifies patterns, looking at things like how heavily a player is betting at the beginning, what games they’re playing and session duration, to name just a few.”
Aside from spotting VIP players, it is also useful for detecting harmful gambling risks, which, Mr Tromans-Jones reflects, is a core part of his company’s offering.
AI-powered products are able to detect harmful gambling patterns, meaning they catch bad habits that would otherwise have been missed.
Finally, the technology also enables major levels of customisation for platforms, and this is a particular highlight for Mr Tromans-Jones, who predicts that in the coming years it will become a key use for the technology.
“Over the next few years, you’ll see almost all of the online sportsbook and casino operators personalise their experience. I think you’ll have an almost unique new site for every user that logs in.
“As things stand, AI can auto populate bets, based on the habits of a particular user,” he says.
Through analysing past data, it can find which market a customer is likely to bet on, what game they’re interested in, and their likely stake, offering almost a full betting slip – thus streamlining the process for players.
It can also choose to offer players particular games, not only what they’ve previously played, but new games that based on their activity they seem likely to enjoy.
There are a number of things holding AI back, however.
Notably, regarding the aforementioned personalisation, Mr Tromans-Jones acknowledges that this is “a bit more of a contentious issue for regulators.”
“Operators have to avoid using forceful language like ‘bet now,’ but generally, if they’re sensible about this, not trying to force the player to bet on things, then the technology can be effective,” he says.
Another limitation is that as things stand, AI is quite expensive.
“The amount of resources it takes to run these algorithms is enormous, because operators can sometimes have massive dataset of millions, if not billions, of rows a month.
“Depending on which algorithm is used, these can be very expensive in terms of server hosting, as well as acquiring the relevant technical talent,” says Mr Tromans-Jones.
However, he also expects this limitation to decrease in prominence in the future.
“I’m sure that over the next few years computing costs will hopefully drop, and certain parts of the process will become more automated, making them more efficient and facilitating better tools.
“I think that the biggest drivers will be that cost, but also accessibility of AI as well, the tools will become even more intuitive, even more simple and easier to use for different areas of the business as well, from sea level to, to ground workers right across the business,” the CTO added.
Asked whether there was anything AI couldn’t do for the iGaming industry, he concludes: “I know it sounds like a bold claim, but I don’t think there are many limits to AI in terms of what it can do.”
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