Facial recognition technology in South Australian casinos
To combat the negative consequences of gambling that affect some individuals, more than 200 gambling establishments in South Australia have introduced facial recognition technology for all visitors. Prosecutor Vicki Chapman said the innovation is part of a major change in the Australian gambling market that began in December 2020. At the same time, a facial recognition system was launched.
Important to note that the target of the experiment is not the gambling establishments themselves but the potential harm that gambling can cause to people who are unable to control themselves. As of June 2021, Consumer and Business Services has decided that six companies can be providers of facial recognition systems, and three more are under consideration.
Under the terms of the program, every hotel and club with 30 gaming machines or more that accept cash bills commits to using the new facial recognition technology. The purpose of the technology is to help two categories of people at once: those who have taken advantage of the self-exclusion feature and those who have been blacklisted as players due to suspected lack of self-control. The technology is to be used in all establishments of South Australia and Adelaide that meet the criteria above. Failure to comply will be considered a violation of the law.
Back in December 2020, when facial recognition technology for casinos was first introduced, the automatic system had already managed to scan more than 50,000 citizens living in South Australia. At the time of the launch, more than 1,700 players were identified as undesirable in casinos. The technology has received so much positive feedback from the industry and the community that even establishments that were not required to use it decided to eventually install the new facial recognition systems too. This shows the interest of some gambling entertainment providers in making sure that gambling affects the lives of visitors only in a positive way.
Prosecutor Vicki Chapman also added that helping players is not the only purpose of the new facial recognition technology. Previously, the staff of gambling establishments in South Australia had to memorize customers who are not allowed to gamble, which complicates the work process, especially during rush hour when there are a lot of visitors. Of course, you can’t just pass the buck onto the technology – it will only tell you who is allowed to play and who isn’t. If the identity check of a player shows that s/he is not allowed to gamble, then the staff of the gambling establishment will need to take measures to ensure that the player leaves the casino.
Also, the Liquor and Gaming Commissioner Dini Soulio has some thought on the subject. His job with gambling establishments is to perform checks on casinos that have the new technology currently in use. This is required to understand whether facial recognition cameras are properly installed, whether detection works properly, and how successfully the whole process of the unwanted visitors removal from the casino works. Special inspectors are responsible for these checks.
The technology to track players who are banned from gambling has taken another step in the development of the industry. In our opinion, in addition to helping players, the new project has brought South Australian casinos to a new level in terms of reputation, because from now on only those players who use gambling as a way to just have some good time and cheer themselves up with a potential jackpot without risking all the possessions and property are allowed to enter. We hope that people who can control themselves and not give in to temptation will be the only visitors to these clubs.
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