EGBA backs EU's new AI strategy to limit problem gambling

19 February 2019

Gaming operators believe a new European Union (EU) coordinated plan for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems could play a major role in improving in problem gambling services.

The Competitiveness Council of the EU on AI yesterday (February 18) backed a series of proposals designed to revolutionise AI across the continent. These include an increase in investment, reinforcement of excellence in artificial intelligence technologies and applications, and the strengthening of research and innovation collaboration between industry and academia in this field.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), the trade group which represents major operators such as bet365, GVC Holdings and Kindred, welcomed the EU’s focus on AI solutions, adding it could lead to massive benefits for the online gambling sector in identifying and limiting problem gambling.

“AI can have significant potential for strengthening existing measures for identity verification, player protection and fraud prevention in the online gambling sector," EGBA said.

“Currently every website click of an online gambler is recorded for compliance and legal reasons and this data, if harnessed and combined with the use of algorithms and AI, could allow for the development of new and sophisticated predictive behaviour models to help keep online gambling safe and fair.

“Early forms of these models are already being used by some companies to identify potential problem gambling behaviour before it arises – and enable protective and timely intervention to the customer.”

EGBA recently joined the European AI alliance, a new stakeholder forum which has been established by the European Commission to promote collaboration between stakeholders and regulators across multiple sectors.

Published last year, the European Commission’s Coordinated Plan on AI outlined a strategy designed to make the EU a global leader in AI development.

“With increasing responsibilities to ensure better protection for our customers, AI could be a game-changer in customer identification, more robust consumer protection safeguards and in general a better and more secure product," EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said.

“That’s why we believe a European policy for AI should be a priority for the next Commission and Parliament," he explained. "Such a policy should take into account the benefits of AI for consumers and ensure AI tools are developed in a safe and sensible way.”