Advancing Consumer Protection Through Machine Learning: Reducing Harm in Gambling

Lead Research Organisation: City University London
Department Name: Computing


The global gaming market is worth $500bn, with internet gaming growing at 16% YOY. As gambling continues to expand
globally across digital channels there is growing concerns in increased problem gambling. Bet Buddy and City University
have the opportunity to develop a solution to predict problem gambling behaviour, leveraging City University Machine
Learning expertise together with Bet Buddy domain exprtise in problem gambling and software egnineering. This would
enable Bet Buddy to apply machine learning techniques not yet deployd in area of growing market value and solving social
problems. Bet Buddy won its first major contract in 2013 with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in
Canada, and has now signed re-seller agreements with the two of the world's biggest gaming software providers, making
product exploitation achievable. This project will advance Bet Buddy's product offering by applying Artificial Intelligence (AI)
techniques to enable Bet Buddy to offer its products to more clients globally, solve emerging problems in new forms of
gambling (e.g. machine gambling), and to target new but related industries e.g. trading and social casino gaming.

Planned Impact

Financial Support: Financial support adds value in several ways, both financial and non-financial. Firstly, a TSB grant
provides opportunity to unlock financial support from the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, a £10m venture capital fund
associated with Cass Business School, and funded by Peter Cullum, CBE, one of the UK's most successful
entrepreneurs.To date, City University and the Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship have been instrumental in the creation, development and growth of Bet Buddy. Funding via a prestigious UK body such as the TSB is greatly preferred
over market development capital alternatives, with regards to protecting the trust built up over the previous 2 years. The
total financing package unlocked would provide the required support to deliver research and enhanced product to Bet
Buddy's first major client, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, as well as provide Bet Buddy with the capability to
capitalise on growing market demands for innovative products in this field, addressing the previously outlined market and
penetration strategy. Non-financial support generated by a TSB grant is extremely important, and has material impact in
Bet Buddy optimizing its development and growth strategy. Support from the TSB would provide a very positive message,
both among the UK gaming community and Bet Buddy's intended export sales targets, that the government is committed to
finding new and innovative ways to address public health concerns. Specifically, those linked to the rapid expansion of the
gambling sector and other industries where consumers can be at risk of developing destructive behaviors. A partnership
between Bet Buddy and City University/Cass Business School, along with with financial support rom the TSB would also
reinforce the public - private relationship often required to credibly address complex public health issues. Should TSB
funding be unssuccful then it is likely that Bet Buddy would miss out on the opportunity of grwth as demand grows from
UK and international markets to existing competitors (e.g. Playscan) and possible new entrants as the pace of product
development would lag the opportunities.


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Description We have investigated machine learning approaches and developed the first highly-accurate machine learning system capable of predicting self-exclusion as a proxy for problem gambling. As gambling expands globally there are growing concerns with the increase in problem gambling. Early prediction can save money and lives. The work led to an EPSRC press release and publication in the International Gambling Studies journal.
Exploitation Route Raising the bar in consumer protection in gambling is a key priority for the UK government and industry. Online gambling is a global growth industry and this year in the UK alone revenues are c.£14 billion. But the problems of addiction that it can bring are well known, contributing to the 593,000 problem gamblers that, according to NHS figures, are present in Britain today. The next step in the research is to evaluate methods of knowledge extraction for the predictive models developed by this project to help shed new light into the causes of problem gambling.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare

Description A software toolkit for predicting gambling patterns was developed at BetBuddy
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Title System and method for identifying and modifying behavior 
Description An apparatus, such as a server, configured to receive information relating to a first user's behavior and to analyze this to identify one or more behavioral risk indicators comprising statistically significant behavioral changes. The apparatus is also configured to determine one or more similarities between the first user's behavior information and stored information relating to the behavior of one or more second users. Moreover, based on the one or more determined similarities, the apparatus is configured to determine a likelihood of the first user exhibiting a behavior in a risk activity which was exhibited by the one or more second users, and to initiate one or more actions configured to cause the first user to change their behavior in the risk activity. 
IP Reference 14/926,391 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2014
Licensed Yes
Impact TBC
Title The BetBuddy Toolkit 
Description Random Forest prediction and analytics tool 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Better analyses of gambling patterns