Curtis Matlock: Proto – Gaming can set the standard in AI chat

The need for inclusive player support across diverse global markets means the gaming industry has more incentive than most to lead the way in automated customer support, argues Curtis Matlock, CEO of Proto.

Automated live chat is a very different proposition today compared to just a couple of years ago. Gone are the days where AI chatbots could only spit out a handful of pre-prepared responses to a narrow range of questions.

Today, AI and machine learning means this technology can understand diverse, local language and should be at the very heart of inclusive player support and protection.

There’s a genuine opportunity to use automated chat to raise the standard of player protection globally, and turn online casinos and sportsbooks into safer, more responsive places for everyone.

Gaming can lead the way in what will be a revolution in the way companies communicate with their customers for the benefit of both sides.

Let’s Raise the Bar

Currently, world-class player support and protection tend to only be available to those logging on from a handful of regulated markets. The internationalisation of gaming has brought fantastic products to all corners of the world, but the player support has oftentimes been slower to follow – and typically only offered in a small handful of languages to the exclusion of large swathes of players

This is because of a number of commercial and practical reasons. Smaller markets don’t always justify the additional costs, leaving players juggling Google Translate when they need assistance.

Sometimes in emerging markets, it can be tough to find support staff who both speak the native language and possess the required industry knowledge to provide adequate help to players. This is dangerous for a couple of reasons…

Firstly, no operator wants to leave their players underserved when it comes to support. Sure, basic functions can normally be communicated in English or another language. But creating an environment where players feel comfortable is far tougher without native language support.

Secondly, a lack of communication is never a good thing when it comes to player protection. Over the last few years, we’ve observed a sea change in the expectations placed upon operators when it comes to protecting their players. This trend is only going to continue, and it is an essential part of the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Encouragingly, many operators want to lead the way and set a new standard, even when entering emerging markets that are yet to see safer gambling provisions baked into legislation.

Markets including India, Nigeria and Kenya spring immediately to mind, but there are many more across a diverse range of regions.

Many operators don’t realise that automated chat is now at a stage where it can play an active role in player protection, whether that be identifying warning signs from conversations or providing support and resources in players’ native languages.

Grey markets are turning white by the dozen, and I expect to see many that go down this path in emerging jurisdictions to rightly mandate elements of inclusive player support within new online gaming frameworks.

Alongside standard KYC and AML checks, this is likely to include broader player support and protection elements, such as the requirement for local language services, enforced complaint resolution times, and checks to ensure players are enjoying products safely.

Automated chat is now the best option to oversee many of these checks and practices, particularly in new markets where experienced and native-speaking support agents can be hard – if not impossible – to find and retain.

Ultimately, the smart use of automated chat is going to accelerate the provision of safer gaming experiences globally, and that’s something both operators and regulators can get onboard with.

I’m encouraged to see many regulators looking closely at this technology and concluding that it can bring real value when it comes to protecting players.

Whatever the language, keeping the conversation going has never been more important.


Curtis Matlock is CEO of Proto, the leader for inclusive chatbots and multilingual contact centre automation.

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