UK gambling machines loaded with AI ‘cool off’ system

Betting terminals in a bookmaker's
Thousands of British betting terminals have already been loaded with the new software

Every gambling machine in the UK’s betting shops is being updated with software designed to detect and prevent problematic behaviour in players.

‘Staff alerted’

Thousands of shops have already installed the technology on betting machines, according to the BGC.

When an enforced break is triggered on a gaming machine, staff in betting shops behind the counter receive an alert, a BGC spokesman said.

“The staff behind know and probably would come out to check you’re ok and have a discussion with you if there are any issues,” he added.

The BGC had already rolled out the system for players who used personal accounts to log in to and play games. It would take previous problematic gambling behaviour into account when analysing play.

However, live behavioural analysis has now been extended to anyone using a betting terminal, whether they log in or not.

The message that appears during 30 second breaks advising gamblers to set limits
During 30 second enforced breaks, gamblers are advised to set limits on their betting

Some have questioned how effective the 30 second breaks will be.

“This is a step in the right direction but obviously needs to be monitored and evaluated,” said Mark Griffiths, professor of behavioural addiction at Nottingham Trent University.

However, he added, “The mandatory break is probably not long enough to have a positive effect.”

In a study of Norwegian gambling machines published in September, Prof Griffiths and colleagues evaluated whether an enforced 90 second break could curtail problematic gambling behaviour.

The research found that the break caused “no significant effect” on the amount of money staked during a subsequent gambling session or how long that session lasted.

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