Online gamblers may be helped by a new system that can predict if their gaming patterns are indicative of addiction. The new system is looking at aiding people enjoy their pastime with utmost responsibility.

Experts from the City University London worked with software analytics firm BetBuddy to improve the efficiency of models depending on the system. The team uses the most updated knowledge about the psychological networks involved in gambling addiction.

The system identifies whether a person's gambling patterns are already showing indicators of risk and beginning to match those of past players, who requested gambling sites to block them for a permanent period of time so as not to get "hooked." Such request is known as "self-exclusion."

Dr Artur Garcez from City University London said that all gambling websites in the U.K. are required by the law to offer a self-exclusion choice. The goal of the team is to aid BetBuddy and tweak their system in such a way that the providers would be empowered to have efficient means of determining early self-exclusion and other signs or circumstances that signify gambling hazards. He added that the move would help players use online gambling tools in a safer and more responsible manner.

The team discovered that improving a machine learning method called "random forests" and applying it to the actual online gambling world could help predict unfavorable playing patterns with an 87 percent accuracy rate.

As providers get hold of information regarding gambling patterns, they could choose whether or not customers should be sent marketing promotions for a specific time. The providers could also use the collated information to send an alert to a consumer if a possible behavioral gaming problem is detected.

Garcez said that such systems already exist but none are known to have released a peer-reviewed study that proves the same accuracy and reliability levels that BetBuddy possesses. He added that identification and prevention of the gambling problems will not only help its consumers, but also project a firm, growing market for providers.

"City University London has enabled us to build more robust and accurate prediction models and apply new, creative algorithms to gambling data," said Simo Dragicevic, Chief Executive of BetBuddy. He added that by implementing the company's proficiency in knowledge extraction strategies to the so-called black box prediction models, concerned professionals can have a better understanding of how such standards can help detect behavior and better safeguard customers at risk.

A research paper about this work has been submitted for journal publication in 2016.

Photo: Orin Zebest | Flickr

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