Gambling has always been a problem. When there were only land-based casinos, the problem still existed. However, with the addition of the online casinos, it seems the problem has acerbated. Friends and loved ones are concerned about people who have an addiction problem and cannot say now to gamble. But thankfully, they are not the only ones who are worried. Bet Buddy is a new early warning system that will automatically let a gambler know when they are starting to show signs of addiction. Those who want to just play responsibly shouldn’t worry, but those who have an addictive tendency could find help from “Buddy.”

The system is high-tech. It is able to pinpoint whether the player is exhibiting a pattern that are at risk. It will match these players with other players online that have been asked casinos to block them because they were becoming hooked. Actually, many people didn’t know that they had that option. Online casinos are well aware of addiction problems. A gamer that is having a problem can contact the casino and ask them to block them for a short time. It’s called a “self-exclusion” and it’s for those who just cannot control themselves.

Bet Buddy is actually a software analytics company. They are working directly with the City University of London. They want to enhance computer models to make sure that they have the latest and greatest understanding of pathways that lead to addition. There are psychological pathways that play a big part in the whole addiction process. Addiction to gambling can just as easily be an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Those who have an addictive nature need to be careful. By doing intense studies into this information, they are able to help modify their system and enhance it to the players’ needs.

The initial program and its research were funded by Innovate UK. They have a Data Exploration Program that gets many contributions to support to it. Any gambling provider located within the UK must provide their customers the option to use self-exclusion. It is legally mandated and a way to prevent lawsuits, but also a way for people to protect themselves from gambling issues. They are continuing to test Bet Buddy and refine the entire system. This will allow them to give these online establishments a way to predict a gambling problem in the early stages. Online communities can place self-exclusions on people voluntarily or involuntarily based on the data from this program.

The team on this task is led by Dr. Garcez. They are harnessing the machine to learn the method that they call random forests. They can apply it to a real-world scenario dataset. The system is believed to have 97 percent accuracy. It can predict gamer’s playing patterns, which are known to evolve into unhealthy playing habits. This is a prime example of how artificial intelligence can be paired with machine methods to address a very important problem. It is a great example of how a partnership with many groups can be brought together for the benefit of society.

Once a player’s information is received by the online community, they can opt out of sending any marketing materials to this player for a period of time. They can also use the opportunity to send the players alerts and how to help them with their problem. There are already systems like this in use. However, none is said to be as reliable and accurate as Bet Buddy. It provides early detection and can help to prevent a gambling problem. Though it may seem it is there to help those who are in the online communities, it can also help to ensure that the growing market of gamblers is more stable.

It’s clear that this program offers very promising results. Bet Buddy needs to continue to be worked and developed so that it can harness understanding of the root causes of online gambling. It was first presented to the public at a conference held in Vegas in September of 2015. The concerns raised at this conference were how to maintain the gamblers’ security and to prevent alarming the players unnecessarily. The data collected must be accurate and the robust system must use an algorithm for gambling data that is unlike anything else on the market. It must be bigger and better and above all else, it must be more accurate.

Because online gambling is at an all-time high in the UK, investing in a system like this is only wise. They expect that for the year 2015, revenues will hit a massive €13 billion. To reach that level, though, they will need about 593,000 gamblers contributing. Of these gamblers, many will have a problem with addiction. The country is already investing £800 million a year to do research for dealing with this and other issues. They are building both knowledge and skills to address the technological and scientific challenges that face the people of the nation. While Bet Buddy is a great system, it still needs some fine tuning to be perfect.