SBC News SBC Summit Rio: there's room for all kinds of AI tech developments
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SBC Summit Rio: there’s room for all kinds of AI tech developments

Technological developments are a core focus of any organisation amid a constant jockeying for position, with the possibilities offered by artificial intelligence currently capturing much attention.

This formed a central focus at the recent SBC Summit Rio, where a quintet of experts delved into how the tech could shape the future of the industry, why such models can improve responsible gambling protocols, the importance of correctly utilising data and much more. 

“The thing with AI is that it has so many uses that we cannot even start to grasp exactly how we can use it,” began Hugo Llanos, Regional Director of the Americas at Altenar.

“I’m sure that everyone here has a different view and a different way of doing it. It’s all about the data and it’s all about how you use that data.”

To illustrate this point, Llanos cites customer engagement and segmentation, user experience and risk management as critical areas that can be heightened via the usage of AI, with excitement stressed at how the technology could potentially evolve further still.

However, despite the numerous benefits born from the embrace of AI, Mateo Lenoble, Regional Sales Director for LatAm at Sportradar, was quick to issue a reminder of the potential monetary implications associated with such adoption.

“AI, as mentioned, is a very, very hot topic,” he stated. “We’re doing a lot of investments in AI, and one of the most important things when considering AI is that it’s a mixture of technology, human resources, and a lot of financial investment. 

“It’s a lot of money that needs to be put in place in order to have a good quality of AI.”

Adding: “This is how AI is helping our customers.  We are providing them with tailored content to their partners, from dedicated content to dedicated markets, in order for them to have a fast view on what they want to bet on and are interested in.”

“…RG is a well trodden AI model used by a lot of operators”

Despite acknowledging that the discussion surrounding AI solutions are anything but a new development, Tommy Kearns, CEO and Co-Founder of Xtremepush, chose to focus on a very relevant topic in addressing just how such products can prove to be a critical introduction.

“Understanding responsible gaming, understanding when and predicting when a player may be going down or being exhausted from pay to play, and then being able to intervene with messages at the right time to put them into free to play, for example, and take them off,” he stated.

“So AI is now coming to the mainstream. It’s very important. And it’s being used by a lot of operators on a day to day basis.”

He continued: “We do this all the time. RG is a well trodden AI model used by a lot of operators and a lot of CRM providers. It’s a really good way of basically understanding, predicting bonus abuse, or abuse in general, or predicting that they are coming into a bad place. 

“You can then intervene with messaging to either A, divert them down to a different type of offer, such as, if they’re on pay to play, divert them into free to play. Or it could be putting in some RG tools, messaging, so they can go out and look at those RG tools on the way through. But that’s a well trodden model.” 

Backing up this point, Ignacio Iturraspe, Director of Sales for LatAm at Stats Perform, chose to focus on a similar point, that being the issue of risk management. 

“AI is helping this a lot,” he said. “One of the most important tools that is helping for risk management is the customer care, the customer risk factor. 

“The system automatically detects betting patterns, and how much risk it should give to the monitor. How much they should allow this monitor to bet in order to maximise the return.  

“So this is also how artificial intelligence is getting on in the back office of the operator in order to help them to maximise it.” 

“…the punter wants to see fast clear content.”

Subsequently, João Sobreira, CEO and Co-Founder of Tipspace, switched the focus to that of content, and just how players can be offered a significantly heightened entertainment experience.

Lenoble jumped on the opportunity to elaborate, while illustrating his point with a very familiar, and much talked about, example in just how bettors could be in receipt of a truly personalised journey.

Netflix may be a very well trodden path in how the industry is aspiring to deliver a truly one to one offering, however, this is where the spotlight was shone once again.

“Let me give some examples, or maybe give a clear picture, of how AI is working. You all know Netflix, right? When you log in, you start seeing tailored content for you. So your content will be different from mine.

“Once you see a movie, they start recommending others. Well, sports betting is basically the same. Once you get registered and start seeing content, that is tailored for the region that you’re based.  

“Once you play the first bet, the system automatically starts recognising your trends, things you’d like to bet on, and starts recommending things that the system suggests that you’re going to like.”

He added: “This is showing the customer a very easy and fast way of showing attractive content that they might be interested in. This is generating great results, because, as mentioned, the punter wants to see fast clear content. This is how AI is working for us.”

With all of this being said, just what does the future hold for sportsbooks when it comes to constant evolution in technological solutions?

For Kearns, the answer lies in autonomy. “How autonomous that gets is another thing, because, you know, sports betting and igaming is a highly regulated market,” he commented. 

“…there’s room for different ways for people to find entertainment”

“So making it fully autonomous, which everyone would love to have a fully autonomous sportsbook, but if you don’t have the right checks and balances within that, it could go really, really wrong very quickly.

“We work in the banking sector as well, [and] you get a slap on the wrist and a fine. In sports betting and gaming, you get your license taken off you very quickly. So, I think the trajectory is to make things more autonomous. But how far that will go, who knows.”

Concluding his own participation, Llanos chose to adopt an optimistic outlook when looking at how players could potentially react to such a shifting landscape.

“Let’s keep in mind we are in the entertainment business,” he said. “That’s what we do. We entertain people. That’s it. That, that’s the core. How they decide to entertain themselves with the exchange or traditional way of sports betting.

“I don’t think that there’s one that is better than the other one. It’s just different ways of doing it. And if a company is ready to provide their customers with different ways of entertaining, then that’s fine. 

“The customers will define which one they like. I don’t really know if there’s one going to establish itself over the other one.

“I think there’s room for all, and there’s room for different ways for people to find entertainment even within the sport.”   

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