Like time itself, technology never stands still as new and exciting technological advances are made just about every day that impact the world around us. Technology has played an enormous role in the evolution of gambling, most notably the advent of the internet and smart mobile technology.
Due to these technologies gambling has evolved from the purely physical i.e. casinos, betting shops, bingo halls and poker rooms to the virtual. Players can now login into online casinos (and other gaming sites) from practically anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet-enabled computer or mobile device (phone or tablet) and can connect to the internet.
This begs the question, however, of whether all technological advances are beneficial to the online gaming industry and, if not, what is being done to counteract their negative effects? Bots, for instance, are considered the ‘elephant in the room’ where the largest online gambling operators are concerned, because of the potential dangers they pose.
What are bots?
Bots are an abbreviation of robots. They were originally designed to run automated tasks or scripts over the internet at a much faster and more efficient rate than humans. That’s why today more than half of all web traffic comprises bots. But like most things, bots began to evolve and not always in a good way.
Gambling bots are an example of evolved specialised bots that have the potential to change the face of online casino gambling as we know it because they can play 24/7 without interruption and with far fewer mistakes than human gamblers.
What are gambling bots?
Gambling bots designed to work on a gaming site’s Application Programming Interface (API), specifically to place bets faster and more efficiently, and even more importantly, to use a pre-programmed betting strategy, system or ‘template’ to place bets. In other words, gambling bots are essentially gamblers that run on artificial intelligence (AI).
That said gambling bots are only as effective and successful as the way they’ve been programmed or coded, but they’re becoming more reliable all the time. There are some gambling bots that can reportedly even mimic human behaviours like bluffing in poker, or taking their time between making bets. The result is they can be extremely difficult to distinguish from human gamblers.
Why Online Casinos Fear Gambling Bots
And it is this that has many online casino operators fearing the future of gaming. Like any industry or business enterprise, online casinos are designed to make money i.e. to be profitable. But they can only be profitable if their players are human, who they know are prone to making mistakes, fatigue and greed which is great for business.
Not so great for business are gambling bots that are fast, calculating, systematic and never sleep or take breaks. They are capable of narrowing the casino or house edge to the bare minimum. Call it by any other name if you will but this is akin to cheating, and the cardinal rule at all casinos – land or online – is never try to cheat the system.
But that’s exactly what bots are programmed to do – beat the system so their designers and/or users can capitalise from online casinos, especially the very best online casinos with no deposit bonuses.
The problem online casinos face, however, is that online gambling bots are becoming ever harder to track down. This is because unlike in land casinos where players must be physically present to gamble, at online casinos players are simply some data and a username and password.
Sophisticated Algorithms Used to Pick Up Bots
That’s why online casinos use cutting edge software and sophisticated algorithms to pick up on suspicious playing patterns that could only be a result of gambling bots. If they discover a player has been using a bot, the casino will typically confiscate all of the player’s deposited funds and/or winnings and block them from the site permanently.
And it’s not only the virtual casino owners that should be concerned about gaming bots because regular players also stand to lose out the more bots make into virtual games.
Take multi-player online blackjack, for instance. While virtually ‘seated’ at the table, how can you know how many – if any – of your fellow players are humans or bots. Now if you have one or more bots seated ahead of you in the deal, the card and betting decisions they make could well affect the cards you get dealt, which should be of concern to you.
Gambling should be about a level playing field, or as level a playing field as possible considering pretty much all casino game odds are already in the favour of the house.
Online Casino Game Dealers are in Effect Bots
Interestingly, although online casinos frown upon players that make use of bots to gain the upper hand, so to speak, they themselves make use of bots in the form of their dealers. With the sole exception of live-streamed live dealer games, where the dealers are 100% in the flesh humans, the dealers of all online casino games are bots.
Sure, they’re governed by a fixed set of game rules and regulations, but they have to adapt to the continually changing decisions made by players, hence they’re bots.
But unlike gambling bots, ‘dealer bots’ are designed maintain the integrity, honesty and fairness of their respective games, i.e. to ensure they serve their function just as their human counterparts are trained to.
Bots Will Always be a Problem for Online Casinos
As to what the future holds for the online casino industry with regards to bots, that will remain to be seen. As has always been the case, when facing a potential threat online casino operators throw enormous amounts of money behind solving the problem.
In this case that means online casinos launching constantly improved software and algorithms capable of detecting improving bots much like a never-ending game of ‘cat and mouse.’ This is as inevitable as the tremendous advancements technology will continue to make deep into the 21st century.
What could become a reality in the next few decades, however, are bots or rather actual robots replacing dealers in live casinos.
If this sounds all too far-fetched consider this; robot dealers would be 100% honest (or at least as honest as their programmers), never make mistakes or need toilet or cigarette breaks, and could work 24/7 without need for a salary or tips.