Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something we hear about more and more these days and even though we might not realize it, AI is already utilized and has great potential in the online gambling industry. To give you an example, Bit8 is a gambling platform company that uses AI to improve the user experience through bonusing and generally to make everything easier for operators using the Bit8 platform.
AI also plays a role in the sports betting industry when it comes to number crunching and predicting outcomes. There are many opportunities for innovation in sports betting when it comes to AI, one of which includes the creation of artificial matches and having the ability to bet on these matches. The possibilities are truly endless.
To wrap our head around the concept of AI and how it has and will impact our industry, I’ve recruited Gaming, Racing & Wagering Australia (GRWA) speaker and AI researcher Gabe Redding to enlighten us on the subject.
Gabe, it’s a pleasure to have you. Lets begin with your Artificial Intelligence background, can you tell us about it?
It started for me with my PhD research which used mathematical models to try to improve the outcome of human In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
My research has always focused on modelling biological systems. These systems lend themselves well to Artificial Intelligence, as much AI research is biologically inspired.
I have always loved sports and was approached by the company that provided the statistical analysis for the All Blacks (New Zealand’s national Rugby side) to develop an artificial intelligence engine capable of simulating contact sports.
Many years later we are now at the point where we can simulate such contests in full 3D.
Wow, more on the 3D contest simulation later. In the meantime, what role does AI play in the sports betting industry today?
Statistical prediction techniques dominate the sports betting industry. Apart from use in some consumer betting software, I think the use of AI is fairly uncommon.
Okay, can you tell us exactly how bookmakers use AI to become better at their jobs?
To me, it is all about being able to better predict the outcome of sporting contests. Any bookmaker who can do this more accurately will be better off.
AI models can allow the bookmaker to decipher complex interactions, which might otherwise be difficult. Computers can calculate and recalculate odds when situations change much more quickly than humans. This is particularly true with the wide range of offerings available to consumers in current markets.
For example if a player is injured and replaced by another, how does that effect the probability of the first scoring play? There might not be an obvious connection between the two events but an AI based model can help in these sorts of situations where humans might miss something.
It needs to be stressed that any AI relies on quality input. This relies on the expertise of the bookmaker. A skilled bookmaker will get more out of this technology than an unskilled one. For any model Garbage In = Garbage Out!
We should view these technologies as a tool in the bookmakers kit.
So how do bettors use AI to increase their return?
Bettors can use this sort of technology in the same way as bookmakers. Any bettor who can improve their ability to predict outcomes of sporting contests should be better off.
Using their own knowledge and expertise as input to AI models may allow them to gain an edge and see things that the bookmaker did not.
Sounds like AI is being used a lot more today in betting than we realize.
In terms of technology it might be more a case of who is not using it!
AI is so widespread in today’s society that we don’t often realise it. Everything from washing machines to aircraft incorporate AI techniques.
As far as sports betting goes I am not aware of other AI being used to simulate sporting contests in full 3D.
Yes, back to 3D simulation. Can you elaborate on the innovation can we expect to see in AI and sports betting over the coming months and years?
I think these sorts of technologies will become increasingly used in the betting industry. Over time they will become more advanced and their use will become standard practice.
It is really just a matter of when. The rate of industry adoption will largely determine how quickly these technologies advance.
Innovations in this area will extend beyond tools to help predict odds. I think we will see fully artificial sports betting markets emerge. Sports bettors will no longer have to wait for the weekend to place a bet on their favourite sport, they will be able to bet on artificial matches and then sit down on their couch and watch them unfold.
Now there is some food for thought- very interesting insight. I know you’re talking on AI next week at the GRWA, what do you expect to accomplish at the event?
I hope to gain understanding how the industry views this sort of technology and what role they think it might have. I am hoping to pick up some ideas for how this technology might be used, both now and in the future from those who know the industry best.
I would also like to think that I will raise the awareness of AI based technologies and give an indication of where this technology is at and where it is heading.