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Impact of EGM features on online sports betting and the role of AI and AR

The incorporation of gaming machine (EGM) features into online betting sites have raised significant concerns among experts and regulators regarding the potential increase in problem gambling.

In the past, traditional sports betting in the UK involved patiently waiting for match outcomes.

With the advent of the digital era, the industry has undergone a transformation that now offers instant access and a wide range of betting options.

This transformation is further accelerated by the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) into sports betting.

Although not as rapid as EGMs, new features like ‘in-play’ and’micro’ bets enable wagers on minute aspects of sports events, significantly speeding up the betting process and increasing addiction risks.

Additionally, features such as ‘losses disguised as wins’ and the ability to ‘cash out’ can potentially mislead players, contributing to problem gambling. The integration of AR technology, which overlays information onto the real world in sports betting, is particularly worrisome.

Imagine watching a game where real-time betting options are displayed directly in your field of vision. This immersive experience makes it difficult to disengage and increases gambling behavior.

Moreover, competitive in-play sports bets among players could lead to decisions made under pressure. While there are undoubtedly benefits to using AI for improving predictions and setting odds, the rapid advancement of these technologies presents challenges in terms of regulation.

The UK’s 2005 Gambling Act was recently updated to address the challenges posed by online gambling, underscoring the need for more up-to-date regulations. In order to safeguard consumers, it is essential to implement measures that strike a balance between innovation and safety.

These measures should ensure safety without excessively limiting the freedom of gamblers. For instance, Australia has taken an approach that permits in-play bets through phone calls, introducing a certain level of friction with the aim of protecting public health.

As technology continues to evolve, it becomes imperative for regulations to keep pace and ensure that the excitement derived from sports betting does not come at the cost of well-being.

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