13 July, 2021

The importance of player protection

Mindway AI CEO Rasmus Kjaergaard, and Founder and Professor Kim Mouridsen, discuss the importance of player protection and identifying at-risk gamblers as early as possible. Mindway AI is majority owned by affiliate Better Collective

How exactly does Mindway AIs technology identify problem and at-risk gamblers?
Kim Mouridsen: Mindway AIs GameScanner is an artificial intelligence solution that can best be compared to a virtual psychologist who assesses every event of every game of every single gambler taking a broad number of factors and their interrelations into account. This approach has been turned into a highly advanced algorithm trained with human experts, to perform with very high precision in identifying at-risk and problem gamblers compared to expert psychologists. The advantage of having an algorithm perform this task is that it monitors not only one gambler, but entire databases around the clock and delivers instant player profiling. Needless to say, this would not be possible with manpower alone.

How important is it for operators to use this technology in the right way?
Rasmus Kjaergaard: Summed up in one word: Very. Using our technology in the right way can make the difference between a gambler developing problem gambling or not. GameScanner provides insight and knowledge on the entire database of players as well as the individual gambler. In that way, operators get insight into the overall state or "health" of the entire database, providing a solid foundation for intervention and prevention strategies. Furthermore, operators can follow the entire gambling trajectory at the individual level closely as they get access to a 360 degree view of every gambler. This allows for an individualised approach in reaching out to gamblers, as their gambling behaviour and patterns are analysed and converted into easily understandable and actionable insights.

How can operators detect vulnerable gamblers as early as possible?
KM: The best way to detect vulnerable gamblers as early as possible is to monitor all gamblers in a database. Through monitoring, deviations in gambling behaviour, reactions towards wins and losses and a myriad of other factors are identified and analysed, resulting in a risk profile for every individual gambler. With an automated high-precision solution like GameScanner, any changes in gambling behaviour are monitored, assessed and profiled, always providing the operator with an up-to-date status on every gambler. Through monitoring gamblers 24-7-365, GameScanner provides visuals and graphs of developments, making changes easily detectable and understandable.

What can regulated operators do more of to ensure they avoid player protection failures?
RK: At the practical level, operators in regulated markets can use third party providers like Mindway AI to monitor their gamblers and get the necessary scientific-based and individualised insight into with whom of their customers they should intervene. They can also run affordability checks on their customers to ensure that the money spent matches what their customers can afford to spend on gambling. At the strategic level, they can set goals like Kindred to have zero revenue come from problem gambling in 2023, or like Entain upping their RG efforts drastically through their ARC-model. Generally speaking, cooperating with regulators and being transparent with them also seems to be the best way forward rather than regulators having the role of "policemen."

Are the behaviours of problem and at-risk gamblers always the same, or does it differ with each individual?
KM: Every gambler has his/her own pattern and his/her own style and level of gambling. That is the reason why identifying problem gamblers is a complex task and why every gambler needs to be assessed individually. It is never enough to look at single factors such as money or time spent exclusively. For instance, losing £1,000 ($1,383) for one gambler may have dire consequences for their ability to pay bills and provide for themselves, while losing £1,000 for another gambler might not affect their life and might be "fun money" they are willing to spend on gambling. To properly identify at-risk and problem gambling, a lot of data needs to be analysed at the individual level. GameScanner reveals the behaviour and decision making that lies behind gambling by analysing data, and it clearly pinpoints how and why a gambler is categorised as an at-risk or problem gambler. The individualised approach that GameScanner offers basically does all the work, mapping every single gamblers risk profile, paving the road for personalised intervention and customer care. However, there are certain demographics that have a higher occurrence of at-risk and problem gambling and those are, of course, also taken into account, but more as a kind of background knowledge.

What makes Mindway AI different to other third-party providers of player protection technology?
RK:Mindway AI differs in its very DNA. Our foundation is rooted in research and neuroscience, taking a deep look at the mechanisms behind decision-making, reward systems etc. and their influence on gambling behaviour. So instead of coming out of the industry, we come out of research in neuroscience and cognitive science. By building a bridge between research and the gambling industry, we add an extra layer of objectivity to our solutions, in addition to being an independent third-party provider of responsible gambling solutions. Furthermore, GameScanner is the only RG solution that has been tested and verified in a sample test by GLI, to deliver a high level of precision in its assessment and risk profiling of gamblers.

Are there any other platforms or projects Mindway AI is lining up for the near future?
RK: Yes definitely. First and foremost, we have added a new focus area to our R&D roadmap, providing new functionality that integrates GameScanner and its detection output with automated interventions. In this regard, we will focus on integrating the output for individualised and relevant soft intervention on a number of platforms. Furthermore, we are working on a number of integrations with upcoming solutionpartnerships within virtual agents, SMS services, automated phone calls, KYC, AML and affordability. Another major novelty is our prediction module that goes beyond detecting problem gambling by predicting how gambling trajectories will develop two, four or eight weeks from now. Additionally, we have a number of project deliveries and new customers we hope to be able to disclose soon, which is very exciting too. On a longer term basis, we have a lot of other new ideas for enhancements to GameScanner, Gamalyze, our gamificated self-test, and new solutions as well. The journey has just begun.

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