Casinos betting on A.I. as the next big thing

The field of artificial intelligence is impacting our lives every day — sometimes in ways we don’t even think about. Sure, there are are smart assistants on our phones who want to help us fill out our shopping lists, or cars that want to get us from Point A to Point B without ever touching the steering wheel. But A.I. is also being employed in other ways; ways that keep us playing, and most importantly, keep us spending.

Which leads me to my next question: when’s the last time you were at a casino?

According to TechSpective, gaming is the latest industry to be touched by artificial intelligence, identifying the potential to dive into the mind of the gambler and understand what makes them more likely to plunk down their cash and play. Casinos, which have long studied the behavior of players, can now use advanced algorithms to get granular on data points, such as how players move around a specific floor layout, and what games they’re drawn to.

Even online casinos (this great site can link you to a few) now study data, much in the way Facebook does to surface News Feed posts it believes you’ll find interesting. But instead of showing content from your friends, online casinos can close the distance between you and the game you’re most likely to play. Because when you’re playing games, you’re spending money.

Of course, when our computers get smarter about using data, there also exists the potential for more nefarious deeds to take place. An independent source for casino players says using A.I. to cheat at an online casino, for example, remains a real concern for operators.

Online casinos are at a disadvantage compared to their land-based peers when it comes to monitoring players in action. The nests of CCTV cameras and eagle-eyed security staff ubiquitous with land-based operations aren’t around to surveil online players in their homes or on the go. This creates a blind spot in which online players can reference probability programs or employ their own AI bots to gain an unfair advantage over the house.

What’s the plan to thwart cheaters? Better artificial intelligence on the casino side to detect those using A.I. to tilt the odds in their favor. If it sounds like a game of “cat and mouse” that could go on infinitely, that’s because it is. But at this stage, it’s one of the few moves the industry has available to it — that is, short of shutting down an online gaming operation entirely.

But such is the challenge faced by all companies looking to take advantage of the advances in A.I. It’s still a growing space, and with growth comes growing pains. The upside is still better over the long term, and businesses across the spectrum will find new and innovative ways to apply machine learning and data analysis to what they do.

You can bet on it.

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About the author

— Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner is a Harrisburg-based tech blogger who has been involved in online media for over eight years. He covers consumer electronics, Web companies, and gaming.

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