Unless you’ve been living in a cave or on a remote desert island for the last few years you’ll know all about the AI revolution.
Suddenly, from nowhere, it started to be featured across the media, inducing what could well be called a mild sense of panic. The technology seemed to have reached a tipping point where it could be perceived as much as a threat to humanity as a tool.
Tech leaders and politicians have been quick to warn of the dangers. The rest of us have been left with a vague sense of unease that it is set to disrupt our lives in some way.
One of the biggest shocks came with the introduction of ChatGPT. Here was a computer program that could produce everything from essays to speeches on a particular subject whenever prompted. Never before had computer-driven communication been so sophisticated or easy to access.
As well as using AI for communication, almost every industry has many other uses for it and, as an early adopter of all kind of technology, online casinos and sportsbooks are no exception.
Sportsbooks and AI
For sportsbooks AI has a number of uses from running chatbots to calculating odds by crunching huge amounts of data.
Its ability to wrangle information about the players who are using a sportsbook also proves to be invaluable in creating the sort of personalized experience that helps to generate loyalty.
And, significantly, it also helps to save employees of a sportsbook from tasks that might otherwise be boring and repetitive if carried out through more traditional methods.
However, for every action there is a reaction. So, for all of its benefits to sportsbook operators, AI also poses a number of threats, all of which need to be addressed and eliminated.
The players’ perspective
For people who use online sportsbooks to bet on their favourite sports, teams or players, they benefit from AI in terms of the personalized service that it enables them to receive.
They may also be able to use AI to help them analyse whether a proposed bet is potentially a good one by using data to predict the result of a game. While sportsbooks may not be overly delighted with this use of the new technology, there’s not a great deal that they can do to prevent it from taking place.
Keeping people safe
Another way in which sportsbooks can harness AI has a direct effect on their own and their players safety and security.
At its most basic level, AI works by looking at and analysing patterns to see where anomalies occur. When they do it may be that something underhand is occurring. By spotting it early, the activity can be identified and curtailed before either the sportsbook or the player becomes a victim of the activity in question.
Often, the reason for the security lapse may be that AI is, itself, being used against the sportsbook with a bot posing as a player in order to gain access to systems. This is why more and more sportsbooks are increasing the levels of security preventing illicit access.
For some, they have taken the lead from banks and other financial institutions in the forms of personal identification needed to access them. So now brands like Fanduel TN use 2 step verification processes before a player is able to log on.
These involve not just the use of a secure password but, typically, the additional need to input a verification code that is sent by SMS or email to the player in question.
Alternatively, some sites may also require the answering of security questions such as a mother’s maiden name or the place the player went to college before they can start to place bets.
For even greater security, biometric tests are also starting to be introduced by some sportsbook operators needing fingerprints of facial recognition techniques to be used.
Sportsbooks also need to be aware of the ever-growing level of cyber attacks, especially as AI can be used to help the would-be attackers infiltrate their systems. So encryption levels and techniques are having to be enhanced and upgraded to meet this threat. As it’s always been, this is an ongoing battle in which keeping one step ahead is key.
It all adds up to an environment in which AI is both a friend and a foe to sportsbooks and the people who play on them.
It’s only by being aware of the risks and taking steps to counteract them that sportsbooks can maintain a reputation for safety and security – essential if they are to be trusted by their players. This all means that over the coming years we can expect to see many other security measures being introduced, along with huge advances in AI.