GBC Time Opinion: Thomi Papoutzi on AI Implementation in iGaming and New Possibilities in AML

AI has been successfully implemented in millions of sectors, and iGaming seems to be no exception. As time flies, we see more and more breaking news about the newest ways to improve and upgrade various factors in the online gambling industry.

Greece is one of the first gambling markets that decided to adopt AI technology to regulate activity. The Hellenic Gaming Commission recently officially announced the signed partnership with Danish company – Mindway AI.

According to the authority, this memorandum of cooperation will invest in Responsible Gaming, player protection, and the prevention of gambling addiction in the market.

GBC Time has discussed the tendency of introducing new technologies into the gambling industry with Legal and Compliance Professional Thomi Papoutzi. We have analyzed the recent updates that came along with the AI development. Moreover, Papoutzi has shared her view on the possibilities in Anti-Money Laundering that might be expanded thanks to innovative technology.

How do you expect the gambling regulatory development to change with more AI growth?

AI software is already used in almost every part of the gaming industry, mainly by operators and game developers. It is a positive sign of growth, evolution, and modernization that the Hellenic Gaming Commission is taking steps to adapt to this new digital era.

In this recently announced partnership, the main target is to protect players from developing problematic gambling behaviors and prevent the risk of addiction. Therefore, new regulatory frameworks should be expected, including up-to-date rules and specific procedures for the operators, instead of broad and generic guidelines.

Since HGC has welcomed AI, I believe that future regulatory developments will focus not only on the prevention of players’ risk and the enhancement of responsible gambling but they will expand on many more aspects of the industry, where the use of data is extensive and can provide valuable insights.

What challenges might the regulatory institution face with such an active introduction of AI into the industry?

Whether the use of Artificial Intelligence will actually contribute to the prevention of problem gambling is the number one challenge. For the succession of this great initiative, the Greek Regulator will need the correct data input. Without “good” data, no such system can be accurate or efficient. Thus, a collaboration between the Supervisor and the supervised casinos seems inevitable.

Moreover, the criteria and methodology which shall be utilized for the creation of the right behavioral patterns are also significant for determining the potential players’ risk and problem gambling.

Finally, the regulatory and administrative measures to be taken must be applied in this direction, i.e., to help player protection and minimize harm. Unlike traditional measures with the usual punitive character, AI-related regulations should be more educative, motive-giving, and fostering the social good.

How do you think it may affect the operators in the market? Do you think AI is an advantage or disadvantage for the iGaming business in Greece?

New technologies and evolving tools are always an advantage, especially if we are talking about the iGaming business. Personally, I believe that operators in Greece won’t be negatively affected. They seem already accustomed since most of these businesses were operating in other countries before they obtained the Greek gaming license, where Responsible Gaming and AI were present long ago.

Besides that, AI is commonly used in numerous iGaming aspects, such as payments processing, players’ onboarding, privacy, fraud detection, and customer experience, just to name a few.

For now, it is only the new set of measures and regulations that remains to be seen. With the proper safeguards’ implementation, the reputation of the Gaming Industry will be benefited by making gambling less harmful for the participants. 

In which ways do you think AI can be used in Anti-Money Laundering?

AI is already used in Anti-Money Laundering since operators are obliged to apply Due Diligence measures throughout their clientele. Hundreds of thousands of checks to players’ databases, daily transactions, and gaming patterns cannot be performed manually in their entirety.

However, AI can be used even more extensively so as to fortify AML systems. For example, the automation of processes is a key component for the efficiency of such systems. Money launderers have learned so far how to work around AML rules, such as thresholds of transactions. Under this view, new technologies used in transaction monitoring, suspicious activities, and risk profile creation could be adapted to improve AML efforts.

In addition, AI can make AML more efficient by reducing false positive results, improving the accuracy of alerts, and revealing possible threats.

Some players may use AI technology to cheat for a winning purpose. How do you think the gambling regulator would proceed to minimize fraud in gambling?

Although AI is commonly used to prevent and detect fraud, there are, of course, players that will try and sometimes succeed in trespassing the system. Abusing the functionalities of AI software can heavily impact the casinos, not only with the loss of money when abuse is performed for cheating but even with the leak of customers’ personal data.

In any case, I believe that the respective law enforcement bodies should be ready to apply strict consequences to fraudsters, from imposing monetary fines and criminal penalties to blacklisting them into a special registry.  The gambling regulator, as well as other government agencies, could collaborate with operators and payment institutions in order to prevent fraud and rest relevant crimes and to fight against those whose intention is to manipulate the system.

Finally, the Regulator could assist by introducing more ways of using AI and extending its necessity in fraud prevention.

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