Whistleblowers Say Problem Gamblers Being Manipulated By AI

May 3, 2018 by Ella McDonald

Gambling insiders have come forward to reveal that hook Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being taken advantage of by bookies and gambling operators to manipulate problem gamblers.

As early as last year, there have been unnamed gambling insiders who have started to talk about how gambling operators use third-party data to personalize and target ads. According to a report in August 2017, third party affiliates were able to harvest user data from raffle sites, where users put in their names, birthdates, and home and e-mail addresses to join raffles.

These raffle companies would then sell the data to several industries such as the gambling industry. The data will be used in addition to previously collated data from gambling sites to create personalized ads based on consumer behaviour.

Consumer behaviour data is collected and predicted by AI systems based from what websites players visit and what they end up clicking online.

According to the insiders, most of the players that fall prey to these tailored-fit ads are problem gamblers, those who have recently quit gambling, those who have credit cards, and those who are in dire financial situations. This segment was found to be the most successfully targeted segment by personalized gambling ads.

A digital marketer for a gambling company who turned said gambling operators usually end up buying e-mail lists from data peddlers. These lists contain hundreds of thousands of names, e-mail addresses, and even phone numbers—and most of the data was compiled without the explicit permission of the users since most are buried inside long terms and conditions. There are also plans being developed to geo-locate customers who are entering sports stadiums and offer them betting opportunities about the game that they are about to watch via text messages.

Data Collection Legislation Must Be Improved

Another whistleblower and a former marketer for a gambling company named Asif said that all of these data manipulation hacks are possible because the current legislation is way behind AI technology. Gambling companies are being regulated in terms of advertisements, but never on the way they collect and use customer data.

Carolyn Harris, a Labour MP who has largely campaigned for reform in gambling legislations, is not surprised that the industry is using AI and data in such a predatory way.

In a statement, Harris said,

I never cease to be amazed at how low the gambling industry is prepared to go to exploit those who have indicated an interest in gambling. The industry is geared to get people addicted to something that will cause immense harm, not just to society but to individuals and their families. They are parasitical leeches