Betting giant Paddy Power has become the first company to roll out a service that takes bets through the Facebook Messenger app using a chatbot. Paddy Power launched its new service earlier this week.

Developed by messaging platform provider Onionsack, the chatbot allows players to log into their Paddy Power account through the app and carry out various activities such as placing wagers and checking balances. Facebook Messenger is the messaging platform for social media site Facebook.

A chatbot is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program that can communicate directly with the players, taking input in natural language format which is then converted for executing the requested action. Paddy Power’s new service is based on Onionsack’s SaaS messaging platform which has been so far deployed by several major brands like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Tote UK/Betfred.

In a statement Michael Healy Paddy Power Product Director said

We know our customers love mobile messaging apps so having a chatbot on Facebook Messenger is the obvious first step. Nearly all of Paddy Power’s customers are on Facebook, and now they can actually place a bet through the Facebook Messenger app

Under this method, customers can write a message mentioning the bet details and the Onionsack platform will do the rest, using the information provided to execute the transaction. Other features of the service include getting push notifications and content from Paddy Power such as live updates, videos and podcasts.

For the players the advantage of using the messaging app for accessing their accounts is that it eliminates the need for downloading and installing dedicated Paddy Power apps or programs.

Jonathan Power, chief executive of Onionsack, noted that with Facebook becoming the top communication channel today, it was a logical step to use the platform for betting. He stated that the chatbot allowed punters an easy way to place bets, and added that more betting companies would introduce chatbots in the near future as they offer a personalized experience.

Paddy Power had initially explored using Facebook as a channel within its software in 2013 but discontinued it a year later citing lack of interest from customers. The new service by Paddy Power however fails to include any features for responsible gaming. Given that an unlocked device with Facebook messenger could be misused, some industry observers have raised concerns. There are so far no clear rules regulating usage of chatbots in such services.

Categories: Betting News

Posted on: 24th May 2017 by: Adrian Sterne