Agimeg, Ian McLoughlin (CEO DigitalEjis): “Great interest in our world’s first software for the prevention of gambling addiction”

Deep-science company, DigitalEjis, is making headlines having launched the world’s first software, enhanced by AI, that can accurately predict the chances of a player developing gambling addiction in the future, before that player places a single bet!

DigitalEjis’ predictive system is unique: other existing addiction spotting software merely identifies addiction only once compulsive gambling behaviour is already underway and therefore it may be too late to intervene.

DigitalEjis’ software is also able to monitor betting behaviour and provide intervention, enabling operators to prevent deterioration in the mental health of their players and, in the rare case of addiction taking hold, provide digitally delivered help directly to players who are in trouble.

“To say that DigitalEjis is scientist and software developer heavy is an understatement”, says Dr. Ian McLoughlin, Founder and CEO of DigitalEjis, “Collectively, our team and partners total more Professors and PhDs than companies 20 times our size.  In fact, excluding research and development staff, there is only myself and my good friends Francesco Gaziano (CMO) and Angela Gemma (General Counsel) who do all the business stuff – mind you, that’s how it should be in technology – research and productization.

“Our technology is a series of algorithms built upon fundamental scientific research.  We have managed to extend the science around addiction and our work is endorsed by some of the world’s leading academic institutions.”

“The resulting product yields a prediction accuracy of 85% for most customers after a 2 minute test which requires virtually zero implementation for operators and carries zero overhead for their systems.”

Ian McLoughlin, has a reputation in the gambling industry of leading success after success through setting and executing strategies that tightly embrace regulation and which make gambling inclusive, entertaining, fun and, above all, safe.

Using this approach, he drove Tipico from nowhere in 2011 to number one in the German market inside of five years.  He then came to Italy to take charge of SKS365 with the mandate to turnaround the ailing company.  Under his leadership, SKS365, and its popular brand PlanetWin, reached the number one spot in Italy for online sportsbetting in late 2018. He achieved this by setting the company on a highly regularized path and changing the focus towards an inclusive entertainment orientated gambling proposition.

Ian’s early career was in research and he holds degrees from Cambridge University in Maths and Physics and a PhD from Imperial College in computer modelling.

In the draft, which should be discussed in one of the next Councils of Ministers, on the new tender for the assignment of online concessions, in article 14.2 dedicated to the protection and protection of the player, it is highlighted that: “To effectively pursue the aforementioned general criteria [regarding protection of the player], the game offer and the related methods of execution must be supported by suitable tools of advanced technology”.  In practice, how does your software help operators fulfil this draft requirement?

“I knew if there was one country in which to launch a bleeding-edge player protection software it had to be Italy where regulation aimed at protecting players is most advanced.”

“Obviously we could not foresee that enhanced regulation was coming when we set-up DigitalEjis more than one year ago but, for me, ever since I went into the gambling industry, ADM and the Italian approach has always struck me as a leader amongst regulators; ADM has always been in the forefront of the Responsible Gaming.  Years-ago ADM introduced deposit limits as mandatory for every player, the possibility to self-exclude from all online games as a mandatory feature to be added on all platforms etc.  All trail-blazing stuff.  Now ADM have scored another first and very wisely identified that to stop gambling addiction, you need to prevent it from ever starting.  This is what they are now requiring with Article 14.2, and DigitalEjis is ready to help operators fulfil that new obligation.”

You are the first to propose in Italy a solution on the issue of gambling addiction by combining science and technology. What response do you expect from the Italian market?

“I was expecting interest, yes; maybe a visionary early adopter or two in the operator community would agree to test with us.  But things have moved much faster.  By the time the gambling addiction scandals hit the news in September we were already talking with bookmakers and had to accelerate testing to be immediately launch-ready.”

“After the new decree draft was released, as reported by Agimeg, things have gone from good to great.  Suddenly all our informal embryonic sales calls are all being returned, we are taking unsolicited approaches and various figures in government are reaching out to understand more about our product.”

“We have a great product for sure, but we have also been lucky.  I saw a lot of businesses succeed and fail and what I found differentiates the successes from the failures are two things; best team and right timing.  The first is down to you and the path you take through your business life assembling experiences and relationships.  The second is down to being able to read the environment and the market.  Either way we are in the happy position that DigitalEjis can help in reducing the horrible problem of gambling addiction.”

Have you had other experiences abroad regarding the use of your software for the prevention of gambling addiction and what results have you obtained?

“Our prediction, monitoring and intervention products are equally applicable in jurisdictions outside of Italy and we are soon to announce contracts with operators in countries across the world.”

“Obviously, DigitalEjis’ software to prevent gambling addiction is more interesting for the markets that are regulated.  Not surprisingly we receive most interest coming from operators in countries such as Italy, UK, USA, Benelux and the Nordics where player protection is taken really seriously and where regulators issue big fines to those companies who fail to protect their players from the moment the customer relationship begins.”

“Moreover gambling is not the only target market.”

“Our technology is very robust and its scope of application is broad.  Gambling is our launch market but I founded DigitalEjis to protect mass consumers in general and we will soon launch prediction and monitoring products in other industries which suffer from screen-time addiction issues: online shopping, video-gaming, and social media; think Amazon, TikTok, Meta, Microsoft Gaming etc.“. ff/AGIMEG