E-thello; Sports Gambling: Examining Sports Betting Companies, Vulnerable Populations, and Regulatory Mechanisms

Truong, Lawrence, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Barnes, Adam, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Virginia

The E-thello board is an electronic Othello board that allows users to play against a built-in artificial intelligence program with multiple difficulty levels. What makes this stand out from current, standard Othello boards is that it combines the traditional physical feel of the game with online Othello features such as move highlighting, automatic board updating, and more, making it great for both beginners wanting to learn the mechanics of the game and for advanced players looking to hone their skills. This project involves a sophisticated program that has two purposes: to play as the opponent and to determine the user’s valid moves. The software is integrated with the main PCB, which consists of an 8x8 grid of pushbuttons, as well as eight LED strips arranged to form an accompanying 8x8 grid. The LEDs are controlled through the Raspberry Pi, which uses pre-existing Neopixel libraries that simplify interfacing with the LEDs. In addition, the buttons are embedded onto the PCB board as a push-button matrix; a program is written into Raspberry Pi to locate the activated button by iterating through the rows and columns of the matrix. Lastly, all of these components are assembled and housed in a 3D-printed enclosure.
In recent years, the exponential growth of online gambling platforms has sparked widespread concern among policymakers, researchers, and public health advocates alike. Betting advertisements have brought more attention to online sports gambling and have fostered a positive and welcoming environment for prospective customers. Thus, the research question I ask is how can current online sports gambling guidelines and regulations be improved to minimize gambling addiction? The framework that I adopt is the Theory of Technological Momentum. To gather more evidence on the impacts of gambling on businesses and people, I used two research methods: finding, reading, and synthesizing previous literature and case studies. Gambling is deeply rooted in US history; gambling has undergone many changes throughout history and has evolved with the introduction of different sports and activities. In leading up to the conclusion of this paper, I explore different marketing strategies sports gambling businesses use to attract prospective customers. These strategies include sponsorships and television and digital advertising. Following this section, I focus on the public sentiment of online gambling by analyzing several case studies. To address these concerns, the paper proposes strengthening regulations on gambling advertisements. This includes removing deceptive language, clearly defining potential risks, and potentially enacting partial or outright bans on gambling advertisements. By implementing these measures, policymakers can mitigate the harmful effects of gambling advertisements and protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation.
While online gambling and Othello do not seem to share any similarities, both started off as in-person activities. Before the advancement of technology, all types gambling were performed at public and private establishments. Similarly, Othello was introduced as an over the board activity where both opponents would meet up to play a match. Both these activities have flourished with the advancement of intricate algorithms and artificial intelligence. For online gambling, the infrastructure has been developed to support convenient methods of gambling. The creation of smartphone apps and advertisements makes gambling more accessible to the general public. Artificial intelligence has also pushed the skill gap for Othello. The use of AI in Othello allows players to gain insight into strategies that would be difficult to understand without the use of AI. Additionally, players can play against an AI opponent, removing the requirements of having two players to play. Othello can also be played online because the internet provides a platform. Another similarity that both activities share involve decision-making under uncertainty. In online gambling, players must decide when to bet, how much to bet, and which games to play, all while considering the odds of winning. Similarly, in Othello, players must make decisions about where to place their pieces, taking into account the potential consequences of each move and anticipating their opponent's next move.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Gambling, Artificial Intelligence, Board Game

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

Technical Advisor: Adam Barnes

STS Advisor: Joshua Earle

Technical Team Members: Ziang Jiao, Brian Lai, Dennis Tian

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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