Interview with Stephen Aupy from Mindway AI
Mindway AI is an outsourced business unit of the renowned Aarhus University in Denmark. It develops innovative technologies for fully automated monitoring and risk assessment of players in order to identify potentially problematic gambling. The solutions are based on research results from neuroscience and artificial intelligence. The company cooperates with gambling operators, platform operators, regulators and governments to offer early detection and intervention solutions for safe gambling.
The company operates in over 30 countries and serves more than seven million active players. The company’s solutions are used to identify gambling usage problems early and ensure a safe gambling environment.
Stephen Aupy is Business Development Manager at Mindway AI and has over four years of experience in the online gaming industry. Its mission is to take responsible gambling a step further by using modern technology and scientific research based on AI and neuroscience.
1.)How is AI used to provide players with a safe and responsible gaming experience?
Over the last three years, we have witnessed the rise of artificial intelligence in the gaming industry. Artificial intelligence has proven to be a game changer, revolutionizing player protection and ensuring a safe and responsible gaming environment. AI has been integrated into various aspects of the industry, using cutting-edge algorithms and data analytics to address problem gambling.
Companies like Mindway AI have developed sophisticated algorithms that monitor gamer behavior in real time, identifying problematic tendencies and excessive gaming behavior. The AI systems are trained to recognize a variety of different indicators such as playing time, playing patterns, deposit methods and frequency of game interruptions. On the one hand, the technology alerts the operator so that the player can be offered immediate help and intervention, thereby raising player protection standards.
On the other hand, AI has significantly improved interaction with customer support in the industry. Operators are now deploying AI-powered chatbots that provide 24/7 customer support, offering players instant assistance by addressing common questions and pointing to other tools and services. This 24/7 support ensures that players receive help no matter the time of day.
AI not only improves player protection, but also significantly supports providers in complying with legal regulations and implementing responsible gambling measures. By analyzing large amounts of customer data, AI systems can uncover potential violations of player protection regulations. This allows gambling operators to take appropriate measures immediately. AI algorithms are also used to verify the identity and age of players both online and in brick-and-mortar gaming operations by checking IDs and using facial recognition technology. Even though AI seems to be revolutionizing our industry, it is important to remember that AI alone is not a 100% reliable solution. Human intelligence and surveillance remain essential to ensure efficient use of AI. We at Mindway AI have recognized this from the start, and that’s why our algorithms are monitored by human experts.
2.) How has artificial intelligence developed in the field of online gambling and what impact does this have on the industry?
Artificial intelligence has made some strides in the world of online gambling and revolutionized the industry in various ways.
Artificial intelligence has had a major impact on risk management in the industry. Advanced machine learning algorithms detect patterns of fraudulent behavior and identify potential risks in real time. By analyzing huge amounts of data, AI algorithms can assess the likelihood of fraudulent activity and alert gambling operators so that they can take preventative measures. This not only helps protect online casinos from financial losses but also ensures a safer environment for players.
Integrating AI algorithms into online casino platforms makes it easier to deliver a personalized customer experience and streamline operations. AI-powered recommendation systems that can answer specific questions outside of customer service hours also improve customer interaction and satisfaction.
More and more online companies are now using AI learning algorithms to maintain the integrity of online gambling platforms. This allows online casinos to monitor gaming for signs of fraud or collusion between players. The use of AI-based algorithms leverages expert systems that analyze betting patterns, player interactions and historical data to detect suspicious activity. This approach helps maintain fairness in the market and therefore provides players with a fair and transparent gaming experience.
These are just a few examples of what is currently happening in our industry, but there are many more ways AI is being used. From these examples, we can already see how Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we work in this space – from personalized recommendations and risk management to ensuring fairness and promoting responsible gambling, AI has already changed the industry in many ways. I expect that the online gambling industry will continue to improve in parallel with the growth of AI in the future and that there will be even more innovative solutions and a generally better experience for both providers and players.
3.) What measures are being taken to ensure the transparency of AI algorithms in online gambling?
Governments and regulators are actively addressing the complicated area of AI algorithms used on online gambling platforms to promote transparency and accountability. This progressive endeavor takes various forms and approaches in different jurisdictions.
Amid the diverse landscape of online gambling regulation, discussions about implementing specific rules and guidelines regarding AI transparency have come into focus. The focus is on transparently explaining how the algorithms work exactly to users and stakeholders in order to ensure a fair and unbiased environment. This has sparked interest in considering independent third party audits, which we have already engaged in.
Independent audits by neutral third-party providers would critically evaluate the functionality of the algorithms and ensure that operators comply with the relevant regulations and industry standards. It is precisely this desire for impartial institutions with the appropriate authority and expertise to monitor the use of algorithms in the industry that stakeholders in the industry have also expressed at recent meetings.
As AI continues to integrate into the online gaming industry, the industry is also facing the potential consequences of unregulated AI use. Given the significant impact of AI on the industry, it is necessary to address this issue head-on. By adopting measures that focus on transparency, our sector can reap the benefits of AI while protecting the interests of all stakeholders involved.
The pursuit of transparency of AI algorithms in online gambling will be a global endeavor. Governments, regulators and industry associations are actively engaging in discussions and considering measures such as independent audits and ethical guidelines to ensure fairness, integrity and compliance in the rapidly evolving landscape of AI-powered gaming platforms.
4.) What trends and developments can we look forward to? What development trends can we expect in the coming years?
In the area of artificial intelligence, I would say that we will see a lot more intelligent chatbots. But I also believe that we have a lot to look forward to outside of artificial intelligence. We see many new potential business opportunities in various areas that I have discussed at international conferences.
I think one of the most important trends we will see will be the rise or return of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as we can now create photorealism in a digital world and I believe that VR could completely revolutionize the gaming experience. VR casinos and games will soon be able to offer a very real and immersive experience, giving the player the feeling of being in their living room in a real-time environment. While this sounds exciting, I think this will inevitably lead to regulation as VR continues to grow.
Cryptocurrencies continue to grow as they are already integrated into the industry and are becoming even more widely adopted by online gambling operators. Blockchain technology can improve security, transparency and fairness in online gambling, while all transactions made with cryptocurrency are recorded on the blockchain, meaning all transactions are publicly verified. I expect cryptocurrencies to become more widespread among gaming operators.
5.) What differentiates Mindway AI from other providers?
We are a leading player in the early detection of problem gambling and are differentiated from other providers by our unique approach and expertise in this area. While we weren’t the first to enter this space, Mindway has taken advantage of learning from our competitors’ weaknesses to offer a more sophisticated solution to the global industry.
In the last three years, our tool GameScanner has now found its way into over 54 countries worldwide and currently serves an incredible seven million active users per month. An important aspect of our work is the monitoring of AI by human intelligence – a principle that we have pursued from the beginning.
From a scientific and clinical perspective, we address the problem of gambling addiction, which we recognize as a psychological disorder. Inspired by the success of Cercare Medical, another company founded by our founder, Professor Kim Mouridsen, that combines AI and neuroscience for advanced neuroimaging solutions to assess brain CT and MRI, we decided to take a similar approach, to identify problematic gaming behavior at the earliest stage. In this way, we provide positive interventions while aiming to move problem gamblers’ data into a safer and more sustainable space.
We are proud of our algorithm, which is a key differentiator from our competitors. Our algorithm replicates the decision-making of our own experts, who have over 60 years of combined experience treating and understanding gambling disorders. We also have the advantage that this proprietary algorithm, which is maintained to the highest standards, cannot easily be copied by the competition. Ours is currently the only solution that has been tested and evaluated in this regard. Two years ago, Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) examined the effectiveness of our GameScanner. The results showed that 87% of people identified by GameScanner as problem gamers were also manually verified as such.
Thanks to our insights into the specific culture and behavior of players in each regulated gambling market, we can ensure that our detection systems are tailored to each jurisdiction.
We achieve this by involving our own industry experts from different markets in training the algorithm. This learns specific risk signs depending on the region, ensuring that no one falls through the cracks unnoticed.
Flexibility and an open approach to integration with operator platforms were key factors in Mindway AI’s success. The willingness to collaborate and adapt to different gaming segments has resonated with operators and led to new business opportunities.
The feedback from many regulatory authorities and operators confirms our superiority. Many have expressed that they have never seen a system as intelligent as GameScanner. As more providers see the success of our approach to early detection, more and more of them are approaching us.
6.) Future prospects for Mindway AI: What further developments are planned to use AI even more effectively to protect players?
We have some very exciting improvements that we will be unveiling in the coming months, but in order to stay ahead of development, we cannot reveal what these improvements will include.
7.) Are players who bet €1,000 per month automatically addicted to gambling?
This raises the age-old question of how much money a player has available. I don’t think that players who bet €1,000 per month are generally addicted to gambling. Gambling addiction is a very complex psychological condition that cannot be determined solely based on a specific amount of gambling. Although high gaming spending can be a possible indicator of problematic gaming behavior, it does not automatically mean gambling addiction. Using GameScanner as a market-specific solution, we can identify which players are developing problematic behaviors regardless of the size of their deposits. This is another reason why operators like to work with us, as ordinary systems only show players when a certain bet amount is exceeded,
Gambling addiction is characterized by the inability to control the urge to gamble despite the negative consequences on various aspects of personal life. Assessing whether someone is addicted to gambling requires a comprehensive professional assessment of the person’s gambling behavior, emotional well-being and the impact of gambling on their financial and personal life.
8.) Can you do without limits and rely on AI instead?
This is a very interesting and controversial question. Is it conceivable that traditional limits, established to mitigate excessive risk to the player, could be lifted to pave the way for algorithmic AI systems? This question has sparked much debate among industry experts, regulators and players alike, as the rapid advancement of AI is expected to continue to influence the online gambling landscape.
While some argue that AI’s predictive capabilities could promote a more personalized and engaging customer experience, skeptics warn about the dangers of breaking down established boundaries. This concerns the possibility that, in the absence of conventional security measures, AI could exploit vulnerable players to the benefit of providers, which could lead to an increase in pathological gaming behavior. As discussions continue, the delicate balancing act between innovation and responsible gambling practices will undoubtedly remain at the forefront.