Beyond Artificial Intelligence: A Necessary Chat About Interventions

Jamie's Gaming Industry Observations

Feb 8, 2023

If you’ve been following the problem gambling space for the past few years, it will come as no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) offerings to spot problem gamblers seem to be everywhere. The technology has been around and discussed for years, but lacked interest.

As one supplier once pointed out, the problem gambler identification package they offered mirrored the package widely sold for sales & marketing purposes. They both followed the customer journey and were programmed to send messages or offers based on past behaviors at key moments in time.

One package was widely used, while the other collected dust.

This discussion took place back in 2019.

Along Came a Nudge

Fast-forward four years and things have changed.

A lot.

A mix of six and seven-figure fines, embarrassing news stories, and regulator interest in the proactive identification of problem gambling have operators revisiting that “add-on” package. And with the buzz, many new entrants are eagerly presenting their new and updated versions.

I sense your excitement. It’s as if I can hear your brain excitedly thinking “Great! We’re beginning to gain speed and will soon be identifying problem gamblers much earlier in the customer journey so we can deliver interventions. Harm reduction here we come!” That is what you were thinking, right?

But wait! What was that?

Intervention?

Umm…about that.

How exactly does that work? What are the best practices to deliver an “intervention’? Do we gather their family and friends like the TV show? Do we just send them an email? Call them on the phone? Do people still answer calls from unknown numbers? Do we need trained specialists for these things? Can our staff do them? Is there a blueprint for the conversation that we know works?

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to the article.

Actually, no. We need to go back to that whole intervention thing. I have far too many questions still.

How will we know if the intervention is successful? What is a good success rate to target? Are you sure they are going to want to hear from us? Like really? Won’t they be pissed off and angry? What do we do if they start yelling at us? Is it possible it might set them off even more? Could it act as a trigger to gamble even more? Problem gamblers are so secretive, how are they going to handle this?

Ok, brain. I’m trying to hold it together here! Stop flooding my head with all of these questions. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable at this stuff—some would even call me an expert. Did I miss the memo where all of these questions get answered? Am I completely missing something here?

I mean, I’m excited and always encourage us to try things. I’m the person that said we need to break a few eggs. This just seems like a big leap. And I’m not sure the leap fully accounts for the complexity of the ask.

And what is the next step? Do we send them to our website? To another website? Are there other resources we should suggest? Maybe a podcast? (wink wink) Surely we aren’t just going to call them and then check off a box that we are done? Are we? But what works?

HELP!!!

Like every other attempt to address this issue, I really hope it works. I just have significant concerns and even more questions.

Well, I guess we shall see…

Jamie combined his professional background as a brand strategist with his experience as a former problem gambler to create dyve. He is also host of The After Gambling Podcast.

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