Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have seen news and opinions about the growth of AI in recent months. Whether it is concerns about robots taking our jobs (or taking over the world), or the fascinating innovations from companies like Boston Dynamics, AI is a truly fascinating subject.
In fact, AI has been involved in our daily lives for a few years now, even if we haven’t really considered it – and it continues to offer new and exciting opportunities for us as consumers but also for businesses. Sports betting is just one of the places where AI makes things better for us (and better for the bookmakers), and major sports betting markets like NY are already feeling the impact of AI on the industry.
Before we delve into how AI is making sports betting easier, let’s get a grip on what the term Artificial Intelligence actually means.
Table of Contents:
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence has existed in some form since the 1950’s, when the term simply meant a machine being able to perform a task that previously needed the input of a human intelligence to complete.
Seen as the foundation of what it means to be human, our intelligence is the ability to plan, to improvise and adapt, and to solve problems while learning new things.
There are several schools of thought on what that means throughout the animal kingdom and even in different areas of psychology, but when it comes to computers and machines, artificial intelligence has several different components.
As the name suggests, machine learning is a system where the computer ‘machine’ is fed lots and lots of data and can then complete different tasks even when they haven’t been explicitly asked to do them.
Neural networks are the cornerstone of machine learning, and depending on the complexities of the tasks that the machine needs to complete there could be hundreds of neural networks working together to filter the available data.
Where do we already use AI?
If you have ever asked Siri a question, or told Alexa to set a timer, then you have used AI. AI has been making headlines recently with chatbots like ChatGPT, demonstrating that not only can the machine learn to create articles and blog posts, but is also able to have conversations that could almost pass as human. They can create images that seem real, they help detect fraud, and they follow us around the internet, tailoring our experiences based on our searches.
AI in Sports Betting
While robots aren’t placing bets, there are ways in which AI, and in particular machine learning, has impacted sports betting.
When fed with historical data about performance, the AI can be used to predict the outcomes of games in a way that is much more reliable than even the most hardcore statistical nerd. The machine can learn from millions of pieces of data in a short space of time, providing real-time information about the predicted outcome based on parameters that we might not have even considered ourselves.
This means, for players and for betting operators alike, odds are more likely to be realistic, and players can be assured that they are getting the best price. They can also make use of machine learning and predicting outcomes to place more complicated bets like accumulators – basing it on the available data, rather than just ‘going with their gut’.
AI can be used to help players get the best out of their experience in many ways. By analyzing the way they play, the machine can provide the best odds and offer bonuses to keep people playing, and also help them if they are making bad decisions.
AI can also be used to automate the customer support role – using the chatbot AI, operators can reduce costs but also provide an instantaneous response to the most common questions and requests for help.
AI can also learn from the feedback sent by customers, suggesting changes and updates that the public want to keep players coming back.
For the operator, AI can be utilized in player acquisition and retention, as well as for minimizing risk.
Through analytics, the AI can determine when a player is likely to disengage from the platform and stop playing, offering them rewards and incentives designed to keep them in the game. It can also be used to target customers who might be interested in betting elsewhere on the site, perhaps moving from betting on the NFL into betting on horse racing, for example.
One of the biggest ways AI helps the operator is to shield them from risk. Game predictions might help the player make better decisions, but they also provide the operator with data-backed odds – so they are less open to the risk of an outlier coming in as a win. AI can also analyze the data to highlight activity that might be seen as ‘suspicious’, reducing the risk of fraud.
With the right AI in place, the player feels better informed, so they have a better experience, and the operator is less at risk of incurring losses through payouts or fraud.