The gambling industry is increasingly using artificial intelligence to predict consumer habits and personalise promotions to keep gamblers hooked, industry insiders have revealed.Current and former gambling industry employees have described how people’s betting habits are scrutinised and modelled to manipulate their future behaviour.“The industry is using AI to profile customers and predict their behaviour in frightening new ways,” said Asif, a digital marketer who previously worked for a gambling company. “Every click is scrutinised in order to optimise profit, not to enhance a user’s experience.”“I’ve often heard people wonder about how they are targeted so accurately and it’s no wonder because its all hidden in the small print.”Publicly, gambling executives boast of increasingly sophisticated advertising keeping people betting, while privately conceding that some are more susceptible to gambling addiction when bombarded with these type of bespoke ads and incentives.Gamblers’ every click, page view and transaction is scientifically examined so that ads statistically more likely to work can be pushed through Google, Facebook and other platforms.
Last August, the Guardian revealed the gambling industry uses third-party companies to harvest people’s data, helping bookmakers and online casinos target people on low incomes and those who have stopped gambling.
Despite condemnation from MPs, experts and campaigners, such practices remain an industry norm.
“You can buy email lists with more than 100,000 people’s emails and phone numbers from data warehouses who regularly sell data to help market gambling promotions,” said Brian. “They say it’s all opted in but people haven’t opted in at all.”
In this way, among others, gambling companies and advertisers create detailed customer profiles including masses of information about their interests, earnings, personal details and credit history.
Elsewhere, there are plans to geolocate customers in order to identify when they arrive at stadiums so they can prompted via texts to bet on the game they are about to watch.
The gambling industry earned£14bn in 2016, £4.5bn of which from online betting, and it is pumping some of that money into making its products more sophisticated and, in effect, addictive.