Regulated online casino operators in the United States are deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to assist them in many ways. AI can sort and analyze player data, providing valuable insights about potential problem gambling behavior and player preferences. Gaming companies and their suppliers have more needs, however, besides data for compliance and performance. They also have a voracious appetite for fresh content and twists to existing games.
That creative side of real-money online casinos in the US is an example of what can push the limits of AI. Those limits play into ethical and scientific questions around AI in terms of what it can do and what it should do. Can AI actually create? If it can, what are the implications of that creation?
In some context those questions can carry a lot of weight. In the realm of an online casino game, there are some legitimate concerns as well. The inclusion of AI in the process of creating games for regulated online casino platforms has potential if the people working with the AI are adept at maximizing the value of the technology.
Could artificial intelligence really build an online casino game?
To a certain degree, that depends on your parameters for the word “build.” AI currently has very finite limits in this regard. For example, AI can’t “see” what color a symbol on a slot reel is. It can read hexagonal color codes in the game’s code. The AI has no sense of how FF5733 looks compared to CD4629, though.
Because of the limitations, actual human beings remain absolutely essential to developing online casino games. To reinforce that point, the question of whether it could build an online casino game was directly posed to a specific AI machine, ChatGPT. This is the answer straight from the machine itself.
In simple terms, ChatGPT explained that it is within the machine’s capability to build a game if humans provide it with all the raw materials and instructions on how the build should go. Whether that is an act of creation is debatable at best. It’s arguable that all the machine would be doing in this hypothetical is simply organizing information that humans gave it.
Near the end of the response, ChatGPT actually recommends that those in need of games contract with other people who are engaged in that business. That is exactly the course operators of online casinos take in the seven US states that allow for real-money online casino play. Some of the licensees do develop their own games in-house like DraftKings Rocket or MGM Grand Millions but most titles are produced by third parties.
The question of whether game developers can utilize AI as a tool to improve products for both licensees and players is a different matter. That is currently a resounding affirmative.
How game developers can use AI to make better games
Oleg Smolerov, chief product officer at ZingBrain AI, has experience in using machine learning to enhance online casino players’ experiences. ZingBrain’s AI engine for online gambling focuses on doing just that.
When it comes to the creative side of content development, Smolerov says AI bears some benefits for people using it.
“Game developers rely on AI algorithms and clever machine learning techniques to analyze heaps of data,” Smolerov said. “They dig into player preferences, how they interact with the game, and even take a look at market trends. By tapping into AI’s analytical powers, developers gain valuable insights that shape their game development strategies. This is central to the work we do with ZingBrain. We’ve used the power of machine-learning to analyze more than three billion transactions. It’s a scale that simply isn’t possible without this technology. Armed with this knowledge, developers can then harness the power of AI to create fresh and inventive game concepts. Through the magic of AI algorithms, game mechanics, themes, and eye-catching visuals can be dynamically generated and optimized. This AI-driven creativity brings about unique and captivating games that cater to a wide range of player preferences. One of the major perks is the ability to personalize the gameplay experience for each individual player. By using AI, developers can tailor the game to suit personal tastes and preferences of every player.”
Along with the additional insight and capabilities that AI adds are some drawbacks that developers must be cognizant of in Smolerov’s opinion.
“Creating realistic AI-driven characters in table games can be quite a complex task,” Smolerov said. “Successfully mimicking human behavior requires sophisticated algorithms and in-depth data analysis. AI algorithms can learn and adapt based on player behavior, which adds an element of unpredictability to the game. While a little unpredictability can up the excitement factor, it needs to be controlled carefully to prevent any frustration or unfair advantages for certain players. It’s crucial to maintain trust among players. Striking the right balance between challenging gameplay and fairness is key to ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone.”
Along with the technical considerations for relying on AI too much in building games, there are ethical concerns. These include accounting for responsible gambling in the game play.
The gap between what AI can do and what it should do
The very elements of AI-driven game play that can make games more enjoyable for many players could actually prove problematic for responsible gambling. There are also concerns about player privacy in online gaming.
For example, the high level of personalization could provoke players to spend beyond their budgets and dilute the reality of the financial risk inherent in the games.
Additionally, game developers must be aware of what data points games are collecting and how they are utilizing them. Smolerov stresses that game developers have to keep these ethical considerations in mind.
Within ethical parameters, the use of AI in augmenting the creative process of online gambling is building.
“AI algorithms are a powerful tool for game developers, and they definitely add a touch of innovation to game concepts,” Smolerov said. “By embracing AI tools, developers unlock new levels of creativity, personalization, and engagement in the ever-expanding world of online casino gaming.”