When you think of Artificial Intelligence, visions of naughty poker bots may dance in your head, but its potential may be used for good instead of evil. AI is useful in recognizing and repeating patterns of behavior and today’s technological advancements are capable of generating a string of recommendations. A company known as BtoBet has harnessed this power and applied it to their B Neuron iGaming platform for casino and sportsbook operators. Questions surrounding this company and its product were swirling in our heads, so we went straight to the source. We’d like to turn it over BtoBet’s CEO, Konstandina Zafirovska, to help us all gain some perspective.
1. People may shy away when they read the words ‘artificial intelligence’. Can you start by simplifying the concept for the average reader?
The Artificial Intelligence is just like the human thinking process where billions of neurons are fired simultaneously to create synchronous waves of cortical computation. Considering the gambling industry, a software based on Artificial Intelligence follows precise algorithms, works on different processes simultaneously while monitoring the player’s behavior, suggesting operator information about a player’s preferences and, at the same time, proposing suitable offers to every single player. Often anticipating the user’s desire and encouraging commitment to the game. In simple terms, this is ground-breaking technology. This is beyond anything you could have imagined. This is AI at work, freeing up operators and taking the guesswork out of the equation.
As you can understand, the Artificial Intelligence is a fundamental tool in the iGaming industry. It radically changes all facets of the operator’s activity by sustaining and guiding him to make the best decisions for the management, acquisition and retention of players.
2. Tell us about your recommendation engine and how you’ve incorporated AI.
In the sports betting industry and online casino, players are provided with a huge range of sports, events, bets and games. The selection of events and games must be quick and the customers need suggestions to access their preferred content, in a click. The Recommendation engine (RE) completely fulfills this need, collecting and analyzing large amounts of information on player’s behavior, activities, preferences, predicting what players would like to receive. Today, there are few sportsbook operators that have developed sports betting RE for their own company and even fewer software providers are offering a casino only B2B RE. The combination of both a casino-games and sports betting recommendation engine is the key to providing a unique experience to the players. The A.I., through its sophisticated algorithms, enables operators to track players’ behavior whilst simultaneously using collaborative filtering to provide perfect suggestions, for the most appreciated games, odds and bets for each player or segment of players. Hybrid recommendation engine – such as BtoBet’s system - can provide more accurate recommendations than traditional approaches. The sports betting RE can control and suggest bets or events analyzing the bettor’s behavior according to sport, category, tournament, competitors and market type preference. The casino RE can recommend games per similarity, comparing the attributes such as theme, volatility, games category and player’s preferences.
3. What were the technological challenges that had to be overcome when building your AI platform?
We spent months on multiple testing, making significant changes along the way to keep the A.I. interaction and system performing optimally. We had to work through an extremely sophisticated algorithm which copies the human brain system and processes while monitoring the player’s data, activity, preferences and automatically suggesting to licensees the action to be taken for the acquisition and retention of players.
4. How often are suggested actions generated by the software and is this customizable for operators?
Tempestivity and the possibility to anticipate the player’s desires by suggesting the bets and games that can trigger his interest – at the ideal time - is fundamental to extend users’ life cycle to the advantage of the operator who can drive a targeted marketing campaign, propose tailor-made offers and increase the wagering activity.The job of the RE system is to open up to the users' whole new products and possibilities, which they would not think to directly search for themselves. BtoBet’s B Neuron System is a hybrid recommendation engine which can provide more accurate recommendations than traditional approaches. In the Casino RE, all the Games are recommended according to similarity, comparing the attributes – such as theme, volatility, category – of the games and player’s preferences. The Sports betting RE is available for online and mobile betting can control and suggest bets or events, including virtual, live and eSports. It acquires and analyzes the bettors’ behavior following Sport, Category, Tournament, Competitors, Market Types preferences. Moreover. BtoBet’s RE is regularly re-trained in an extremely short time frame, with any new data and player’s behavior, fully updating the system and every single player’s profile precisely. The recommendations are recalculated several times a day and the intervals of them are totally customizable.
5. Can the product be used for risk management?
The A.I. plays a key role in the trading operations as it automatically identifies potential fraud taking the necessary action whilst also advising the operator. It is extremely important to guarantee a totally secure management process. BtoBet has an extremely advanced anti-fraud system; it is able to independently analyze the player’s activity automatically identifying any possible fraudulent behavior. Points are assigned according to the type of fraudulent actions and this gives the licensee the possibility to define different measures according to the player’s behavior. With specific BtoBet friendly tools, operators can keep track of the transaction data, and manage it by reviewing analytics via the risk and fraud dashboards.
The most important benefits of implementing advanced tools for fraud management are the real-time visibility of fraud vulnerability, the ability to immediately respond to fraud with timely and relevant actions and to prevent monetary loss due to fraud.
6. Is there anything else like this on the market? If so, why is BtoBet a better option?
In the gambling market there are some companies using products based on the Artificial Intelligence, but what differentiates BtoBet are the deep experience in the subject. First of all, the company was a pioneer in the gambling market, 3 years ago, ready to launch the new version of the advanced iGaming platform and sportsbook based on AI. Secondly, Btobet is a B2B provider and not a B2C operator that opted to work in the B2B space in order to defray the high-investment costs and time-consuming effort involved in building and maintaining a tailored and bespoke platform. In this regard, BtoBet is very proud to consider itself as a technology partner and not as a just a software provider for the gambling industry, compliant with the requirements of the regulated markets. The company supports its clients in their day by day evolution, in the best way possible. To reach this aim, previously BtoBet’s IT team worked on its advanced platform in a way that enables the system to evolve and now is constantly focused on the future development of the software, to stay always ahead.
7. As a company, your goal is to remain one step ahead in the gambling industry. How do you manage to stay ahead of the game?
The secret to stay ahead in the industry is to be visionary. Being visionary has allowed Btobet to be a pioneer in new technologies for the gambling industry and to continue to understand deeply – and in advance - the requirements of the market, anticipating the operator’s needs. An additional value is the capability of the company to keep updated and to count on a very talented development team, skilled to maintain the technological software and the learning machine always at a very top standard.
8. On a final note, are there any other industries that have put AI to good use in your opinion?
Machine-learning technology – as part of an artificial intelligence-led offering - holds the key in online and mobile sports betting as much is it does with the likes of Amazon, Spotify and Netflix, providing the capability to offer a tailored sports-betting experience. I believe that particularly effective in online gambling is the hybrid recommendation system – the same as is employed by Netflix – whereby collaborative filtering (where information is collected from many other users) is matched with content filtering (utilizing user metadata).