Article

The Race is On

The CEO right up the board of directors are going to have to get a lot more tech savvy to manage the digital minefield coming down the road. As tech on both sides of the betting equation advances at lighting speed, the race is now on to ensure the one rule of gambling remains true: The House Always Wins.

 

The Future of AI

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have been permeating many aspects of the gambling industry for a number of years, it is only now that the full potential of the technology is starting to be harnessed. iGaming operators’ drive to automate as many operations as possible to reduce staff costs and provide a more quality service is increasing the adoption and application of this technology. The use of AI in the gaming industry is pretty much unlimited and can in time potentially automate the whole betting cycle. The advances in machine learning techniques now provide the ability for AI to manage large volumes of data and monitor games, price odds, accept bets and settle payments in real time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The technology allows companies to spot problem gamblers and detect fraudulent behavior automatically. AI has allowed companies to provide players with personalised experiences and to adapt their content on an individual level while delivering it simultaneously across multiple channels, and in so doing, creating a better all-round gaming experience. But much like financial markets have come to learn from high frequency trading, technology is a two way street. These same technologies can be used by players to their advantage through automated betting. Investment in AI is set to soar in the coming years as both operators and players seek to exploit its numerous advantages to make faster and more informed data-driven decisions.


“Gaming companies place great emphasis on efficiency, innovation and technology as they continue to grow and mature. We see greater investment and initiatives on the automation of operational processes, thus reducing cost and increasing efficiency. Not surprisingly, understanding customers through business intelligence and data analysis play a critical part in product innovation, personalisation and optimisation. The application of AI to big data and the development of predictive analytics to daily operating environments are areas that we believe will attract interest and investments.” 

Alan Craig, Business Advisory Partner and iGaming Sector Leader of Mazars Malta

 

Bullish on Blockchain 

Many hail blockchain technology as the best innovation for the gaming industry since the invention of the internet. Blockchain technology has become one of the hottest topics within the industry, and many operators agree that the blockchain tech revolution has only just begun. More than just a distributed database for bitcoin, the technology’s ability to send, receive and store information has the underlying power to truly disrupt the status quo of the iGaming industry in the years ahead. The implications of decentralised ledger technology mean the industry could address a myriad of transparency issues and completely re-design its business model. While the technology is still in its early days, it still offers a myriad of technological solutions for the iGaming industry. Regulatory compliance, instant payments, identity verification, fraud detection, fund raising through ICOs, smart contracts for affiliates, random number generation verification are just the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect further applications that can be implemented across the entire business operation to come online in 2019 and beyond. 

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Blockchain technology brings new challenges for regulators who are voicing concerns regarding the anonymity and stability of the systems. Many authorities have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to distributed ledger technology in order to gain more clarity on the technology, its implications and risks in a gaming environment before they fully analyse what needs to be regulated and how they will go about applying regulation. It is positive that the Malta Gaming Authority will allow the use of DLT in a sandbox environment from January 2019, accepting games that are hosted fully or partially on a blockchain environment. However, for blockchain technology to really take off in the iGaming industry, regulators around the world will need to adopt a positive stance on its use. Many within the industry believe that blockchain’s relevance will only continue to grow in importance. The intelligent adoption of blockchain could well prove to have the biggest non-product impact on iGaming companies in the coming years.  
 

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