Stressed young person on laptop

There is “no statistically significant” link between player markers of harm and three key structural game characteristics – volatility, return to player (RTP), and hit rates – according to new analysis from Future Anthem.

According to the AI and game data science specialist, these structural characteristics are not associated with the accepted markers by which companies identify players at risk of harmful gambling.

Released to coincide with Safer Gambling Week, a cross-industry initiative to promote safer gambling in the United Kingdom and Ireland, this research used Anthem’s Safer Play machine learning models, executed against 36 million Gamesys gaming sessions to identify potential markers of harm that indicate risky play.

A full investigation of the extent to which slot games may be correlated with markers of harm was conducted on these game sessions to identify the link between player risk and the three structural game characteristics of volatility, return-to-player and hit rate.

Along with the aforementioned finding of no correlation, the study found no evidence that individual risk indicators, like ‘staking up’, were linked to specific games in the category.

The survey did however suggest that there are other factors that make a player more at risk, including the time of day they play and deviance from normal play patterns, along with a recent risky session.

In line with this, statistics showed that overnight play (between midnight and 6am) was 36 per cent riskier than at other times of the day.

Additionally, players having just completed a high-risk session were seven times more likely to have another.

LinkedIn/ Chris Conroy

Commenting on the report, Chris Conroy, Future Anthem’s chief data officer commented: “We are delighted to have undertaken research in such an important area of our industry with Gamesys. Aspects of games, players, behaviours, and protection are often mythologised.

“We have deployed comprehensive machine learning models with significant amounts of data on gameplay to shine a light on part of the puzzle.”

Looking to the future, he added that the company is looking forward to undertaking further research on games and game design to identify how gambling operators and studios can provide an enjoyable and sustainable player experience.

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