The government of South Australia is boasting about the high compliance rate for a new law that requires the use of facial recognition in many gambling establishments. The law went into effect in December, and specifically applies to any gaming venues that have more than 30 poker machines, where at least one of those machines has the ability to accept traditional bank notes.
South Australia is now claiming that more than 230 establishments have already installed facial recognition technology in an effort to fulfill those obligations. Facial recognition helps venue operators spot players who have been barred from the casino, even if they never have any direct interactions with casino staff (as is possible with an automated poker machine).
The law itself was passed to prevent problem gambling and the associated fallout. According to Attorney-General Vickie Chapman, facial recognition is more effective than manual checks because it eliminates human error and gives venues a better way to deal with a high volume of traffic.
“Previously, venue staff would have to remember the faces of all barred patrons and be required to identify them sometimes during peak activity times,” explained Chapman. “By automating a large amount of this work through facial recognition, staff receive an alert and are able to take appropriate action in response by intervening and ensure that a barred person is not allowed to gamble.”
Since the law went into effect, South Australian gaming establishments have scanned more than 50 million faces and detected banned players on more than 1,700 occasions. Chapman also noted that many venues have been proactive, and have voluntarily installed facial recognition tech even though they are not required to under the letter of the law.
Gaming operators can currently choose from one of six approved facial recognition providers, though that number could increase with three more applications pending. Japan has announced similar plans to use facial recognition to fight gambling addiction, while the Star Casino in Sydney, Australia, has deployed the technology to stop potential thieves.
May 28, 2021 – by Eric Weiss