EU development of Artificial Intelligence could help keep online gambling safe and fair

Brussels, Today – The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), representing Europe’s leading online gambling companies, welcomes today’s conclusions of the Competitiveness Council of the European Union on Artificial Intelligence (AI). EGBA believes that AI, if exploited effectively, could have massive benefits for the online gambling sector in strengthening existing measures for identity verification, player protection and fraud prevention.

The Competitiveness Council’s conclusions underline the importance of encouraging the development and use of AI in Europe by increasing investment and strengthening research and innovation. The conclusions are part of a broader EU policy debate about the future development and use of AI, which has been initiated by the European Commission and will likely continue into the mandate of the new European Parliament and European Commission.

EGBA fully supports the need for an EU policy on AI to fully harness the many benefits of AI and safeguard against its risks. This is why the EGBA recently joined the European AI alliance, a new stakeholder forum which has been established by the European Commission, and looks forward to engaging with the European Commission and other stakeholders to develop the use of AI further.

Online gambling is a popular pastime for European consumers – and, with more than 12 million customers, EGBA members are world leaders in the innovation of the sector. But the provision of online gambling needs to be safe, regulated and accompanied by stringent consumer protection safeguards that protect vulnerable groups. In this respect, national regulation already imposes a high “duty of care” on gambling companies to protect their customers – and the use of AI could help companies protect customers even better.

AI can have significant potential for strengthening existing measures for identity verification, player protection and fraud prevention in the online gambling sector. Currently every website click of an online gambler is recorded for compliance and legal reasons and this data, if harnessed and combined with the use of algorithms and AI, could allow for the development of new and sophisticated predictive behaviour models to help keep online gambling safe and fair. Early forms of these models are already being used by some companies to identify potential problem gambling behaviour before it arises – and enable protective and timely intervention to the customer.

“With increasing responsibilities to ensure better protection for our customers – AI could be a game-changer in customer identification, more robust consumer protection safeguards and in general a better and more secure product. That’s why we believe a European policy for AI should be a priority for the next Commission and Parliament. Such a policy should take into account the benefits of AI for consumers and ensure AI tools are developed in a safe and sensible way” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General.

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About EGBA

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) is the Brussels-based trade association representing the leading online gaming and betting operators established, licensed and regulated within the EU, including bet365, BetClic, Betsson Group, Expekt, GVC Holdings PLC, Kindred Group Plc, MRG, and ZEAL Network. EGBA works together with national and EU authorities and other stakeholders towards a well-regulated online gambling market which provides a high level of consumer protection and takes into account the reality of the digital economy and consumer demand. Today, EGBA’s member companies together have more than 12 million customers in Europe.

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Barry Magee

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