While artificial intelligence has been impacting the igaming industry for decades, the influence it is proving to have on casino, sports betting and lottery companies is growing exponentially.
Recent developments in AI art, although controversial to some, have introduced a plethora of time-saving opportunities for design artists to encompass, and with online slot machines being continuously pumped out week by week, suppliers can’t help but consider that AI models with fast-tracked designs could be the key to streamlined content provision.
Looking at the role that AI could play in developing slot releases, operators, suppliers and affiliates appeared at SBC Summit Barcelona to discuss a range of topics surrounding AI and its impact on game design.
Hosting a panel titled ‘AI disrupting slot design – Is this the future of game creation’ was Daniel Lindberg, CEO at Breakpoint Invest, who explained that the online casino industry, for both B2C and B2B companies, is “faced with a massive technology shift with the entrance of AI.”
“I think we’re at the tipping point,” he continued. “The question is not if AI will affect the way we operate, I think it’s more around how much it will affect us.”
“We don’t really know what is beyond the horizon of our understanding”Vladyslav Garanko, CBDO at Platipus
Amidst explaining the difference between true AI and machine learning after being probed by Lindberg, panellist Vladyslav Garanko, CBDO at Platipus, stated that most AI components being used today are actually “limited simulations” of true AI, naming ChatGPT, which he considers to be “quite dangerous, and quite impressive”.
In response to the notion of current AI technology being referred to as limited, Lindberg stated that “it can’t be that limited” as he mentioned another panel that suggested ChatGPT-4 has an IQ equivalent to Einstein, and that its future successor, ChatGPT-5, will be 10 times as smart.
To this, Garanko noted: “That’s the thing, we don’t really know what is beyond the horizon of our understanding. So from our limited understanding we see it as a very silly person talking to a very smart person.
“But, if AI were to develop at such a stage it would start teaching us how to properly communicate with it. Suddenly you have a different level of communication and the master/servant relationship may turn any other way.”
With the power of AI conveyed to the audience, Lindberg directed the conversation towards its impact on companies across the igaming industry, starting with an operator’s perspective from Philip Sultana, Head of Design & UX/UI at PressEnter Group.
“Across the company, whether its finance, legal, design or purely casino, AI is being used,” said Sultana. “I would say AI is not the future, but it is actually the present.”
“Speaking for my team, we tend to use generative AI, like Midjourney mainly, almost like a concept artist that’s in the room with us. We prompt it with ideas and it spits back an image, we then see the image and use it to gather an idea, so it’s almost like we’re playing table tennis.
“Unfortunately, we did not get satisfying results with ChatGPT. It did not cut our costs, it did not cut time”Aleksandra Andrishak, Editor in Chief at Slotsjudge
“Currently it hasn’t replaced anyone, but it’s a huge benefit to the team and we feel that it’s actually improving quality. Other people then can be a bit lazy and think ‘ok we don’t need all of these design errors’ and only use Midjourney instead.”
“But, that then limits the creativity because Midjourney or AI is based on a data set, so it copies what there already is. Inherently, it will give you more of what there is. The industry does not need that, there are plenty of games that look and feel the same.”
Bringing an affiliate’s perspective to the stage was Aleksandra Andrishak, Editor in Chief at Slotsjudge, explaining how the company has experimented with AI when writing reviews on the industry’s slot releases.
“We don’t produce slots, but we do review them, so when ChatGPT became very popular, we experimented with it a lot,” she said.
“Unfortunately, we did not get satisfying results with ChatGPT. It did not cut our costs, it did not cut time. ChatGPT finds it very hard to make opinions and this is generally what players look for when they read a slot review.”
“Another thing that we discovered is that ChatGPT does not deal with absences very well. Statistically, most of the slot games have wilds, and the particular one we were reviewing did not have them. But, it will still add descriptions of wilds just because all the other slots have them.”
Moving onto the slot development process, Garanko was first to give insights from a supplier’s experience with AI when using it for content provision.
“Our team has been using AI in the past, for a couple of years if I recall correctly. The result is a bit of a mixed bag to be honest,” he explained.
“It is very effective in terms of visualisation. When you have an understanding of the concept, and you want to relay this concept to a designer who will have to draw it properly, with ChatGPT it is possible to nail down a perfect description, making it possible to visualise it for the designer to understand and proceed.
“this is something that for sure will change the future, as it has already started”Gretta Kochkonyan, Head of Account Management at Endorphina
“But, at the same time, the results may vary, some of them are hilarious, some of them are absolutely horrible. Can AI truly create a slot game from scratch? Yes. It will not work, it will be absolutely horrible. But yes, it can.
“AI is just another tool. I would even say AI is a giant hammer, while we humans are the chisel used to make a perfect sculpture. It’s a giant hammer that you need to carve out the marble and make it into a perfect shape, so that a human can visualise it and liberate the beauty within.”
Prague-based slot developer Endorphina was also represented on the stage, as Gretta Kochkonyan, Head of Account Management, told how the supplier used AI to create recent slot release, Joker Ra, explaining that slight mistakes made by generative AI art models can actually add character to a game.
“We played with it a lot,” she stated. “We created the game Joker Ra with the help of AI, basically for the graphics. Yes, it’s funny. Yes, it’s not like someone has drawn it. For example, we have a cat – a symbol within the game – that has five legs, crazy right?
“We can accept that it is crazy, but what then are the emotions that the players are having from this? They are taking a look, they know that it is AI, but the result itself showed that people are interested, they really wanted to see something fresh, something new, something crazy.”
To define AI technology’s current impact on slot suppliers, Kochkonyan added: “This is something that will for sure change the future, because it has already started. With Endorphina, the result was good, we liked it and we wanted to do more, and more, and more.”