Throughout the past year, technological advancements have bombarded the gambling industry. While technological evolution has shaped the industry for decades, recent innovations in AI, blockchain and the metaverse are beginning to transform the casino ecosystem in unprecedented ways. 

Looking into machine learning shortcuts, generative AI and VR improvements, our latest CasinoBeats 100 Club special asked the club what technological advancements they believe will sweep the casino industry. 

In this follow-up feature, David Brace, Innovation Director at Continent 8 Technologies, and Nick McDonald, Account Director at Fujitsu, give their answers to the initial question, while also providing a deeper dive into the impact of machine learning and quantum computing, including insights from AI itself. 

CasinoBeats: What is the next technological step that could sweep across the online casino industry? And why?

Nick McDonald: It has to be AI-related. AI can change the game in terms of analysing player behaviour, age verification and fraud detection. However, there needs to be a lot of focus on the ethical standards around this. 

AI is a huge talking point within the igaming industry and the wider tech world, and companies are going to need to work out ethical and sustainable ways of utilising it. How we collect, analyse, and store data will be essential, and we need to turn to technology to help us work on how to do this in a sustainable and ethical way. 

Technological advancements will help online casinos create their own AI platforms, which, in turn, will mean that they do not need to use as much outside technology. Operators being able to use AI tools on their own technology stacks will be excellent for sustainability and really help drive ESG initiatives, which is something that will be at the forefront of the industry for the next decade.

David Brace: The most obvious answer is artificial intelligence, which is already being integrated into a number of functions within the industry. However, I feel that AI/machine learning is here and already influencing the industry, and if we are looking at new technologies that will create a true step change for igaming, we should be looking towards quantum computing. 

This technology is in its infancy right now but already shows signs that it could transform the way the industry operates. If we look at random number generators, for example, a switch to quantum-based technologies delivers a more secure RNG which cannot currently be predicted by anyone, including the operator. 

Quantum computing is ideally suited to analysing large datasets in true real-time, which could lead to massive improvements in the understanding of the patterns of play, delivering advances in responsible gaming, fraud detection and player personalisation. There are many more examples of implementation, which we will only begin to understand as the technology begins to be deployed within the industry. 

“opportunities provided by AI integration will more than makeup for the investment required to get it right. “

David Brace, Innovation Director at Continent 8 Technologies

CB: Keeping up with the rapidly evolving technology that surrounds the industry requires substantial levels of funding, do you think that high costs could outweigh the potential when it comes to AI and other advancements gaining mass adoption? 

NM: High costs are inevitable in AI adoption; the real measure will be how these costs are returned to the business. If the right level of ROI can be demonstrated and put back into the company, the initial funding becomes irrelevant. This is why partnering with the correct technology providers is essential. 

Companies must ensure they work with the most effective partners to help them build their AI developments correctly and efficiently from the beginning by using tried and tested modelling and frameworks. This is how companies will get ahead of their competitors.

DB: I believe that, unlike most new/emerging technologies, the opposite may initially be true with AI/ML integrations for companies. The cost of taking that first step into AI is very small with several companies offering consumption-based models on their AI/ML products. This will accelerate the initial adoption of the technology in many organisations. 

However, the extensive reliance on ‘as a service’ models, the majority of which are still branded as experimental or beta, means there is a risk of investment being made into technologies that may be cancelled or dramatically altered with very little notice. To balance this, I would say that the opportunities provided by targeted AI integration will more than makeup for the investment required to get it right. 

“if your competitors are going to embrace new technologies, then you don’t want to be left behind”

Nick McDonald, Account Director at Fujitsu

While providing his own answers to the AI-focused questions, Brace also inputted the questions into the AI chatbot Google Bard

Google Bard: It is true that the high costs of developing and deploying AI and other advanced technologies could outweigh their potential benefits in some cases. For example, small businesses may not be able to afford the upfront costs of implementing AI solutions, and even large businesses may find it difficult to justify the cost of AI projects that do not have a clear ROI. Additionally, the complexity of AI systems can make them difficult to maintain and update, which can add to the overall cost of ownership. 

However, I believe that the potential benefits of AI and other advanced technologies outweigh the costs in the long run. AI has the potential to revolutionise many industries, from healthcare to manufacturing to customer service. By automating tasks and making better decisions, AI can help businesses to save money, improve efficiency, and provide better products and services to their customers.

CB: As a lot of companies within the gambling space will be using the same models, tools and services provided by AI, is there a risk that this could cause some saturation in the products that are being delivered? 

NM: This is always a risk when a new technology emerges. Ultimately, if your competitors are going to embrace new technologies, then you don’t want to be left behind. However, gambling is a diverse industry, and everyone will adapt differently. We will see many bespoke adaptations by companies to fit their needs, stimulating innovation and growth.

Another upside is that if more companies embrace AI technology in the igaming space, it becomes more readily available and drives the prices down for the entire industry.

DB: There is a risk of convergence, especially on ancillary services such as AML/KYC/player protection leading to saturation and/or consolidation, which can lead to a lack of innovation in products. On the product front, we all operate in a heavily regulated industry with strict controls on many factors affecting gameplay and design, but that hasn’t impacted the variety or quality of the product in the market.

Integration of AI-based automation into the underlying technology could have the opposite effect in allowing companies to innovate on the creative side of the game, knowing that the nuts and bolts of the product are automatically produced in a technically compliant manner.  

Here’s what Google Bard had to say on AI adoption and industry saturation.

Google Bard: Yes, there is a risk that AI saturation could lead to product homogeneity in the gambling industry. If all gambling companies are using the same AI models and tools, they will all be able to offer the same types of products and services. This could lead to a situation where there is little to differentiate between different gambling companies, and customers may have a hard time choosing which company to use.

However, there are also some factors that could mitigate the risk of AI saturation in the gambling industry. For example, different gambling companies may use different datasets to train their AI models. This could lead to different companies offering different products and services, even if they are using the same AI models.

Additionally, gambling companies may use AI to personalise their products and services to the individual needs of their customers. This could also help to differentiate different gambling companies and make it easier for customers to choose the company that is right for them.