Trial Facial Recognition Tech

Bianca Munz | 26 July 2018

New Zealand Casinos Trail Facial Recognition Tech
New Zealand news website Voxy, has revealed that facial recognition technology is currently being tested in 15 land based casinos. The primary purpose of the technology is to identify problem gamblers, using sophisticated facial analyses systems. The reports say that 6 more casinos are already in the process of also installing the ground breaking system.

Referred to as The Guardian, the software is able to compare facial scans it takes on the fly, against a stored database. The database itself is comprised of photographs of problem gamblers who have voluntarily had their identities logged. In all cases, the problem gamblers have personally asked to be kept away from gambling venues as part of their recovery process.

If a match is made, The Guardian notifies staff of the venue, who then approach the individual, check identification, and ask the guest to leave in the case of the match being verified.

Cutting Edge Identifiers

The most notable feature of the facial recognition software is its ground breaking new technology that allows for adaption to occur on the fly, working within guidelines, but able to detect changes that may have occurred in human facial features. So, should a face have an added beard, a match will still be made. This makes it nearly impossible for a face within the database to enter the venue, without being marked.

The Guardian was created by New Zealand based companies COMS Systems and Torutek, who undertook development after a public demand was heard, asking for more focused regulations in local casinos. COMS Systems, which worked for four years in development of the facial recognition software, also provides management infrastructure methods to around half of all the casinos in the country.

A Smart Solution

Speaking on the subject of problem gambling, Paul Andrews, director of COMS Systems, confirmed that New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world. But, he added, that it was still necessary to explore new ways in which to identify, and help problem gamblers in the country.

He went on to stress that The Guardian was not an imposed measure, but completely voluntary, and an important step in minimising any potential harm caused by casinos. He likewise confirmed that harm minimisation in the country was already stringent, but that extra caution was always welcome.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive at the Problem Gambling Foundation, Paula Snowden, added her voice to the matter. She declared the new measures as an excellent step, pointing out that previously most casinos relied on photographs pinned to boards, and for staff to manually make matches. It would now be possible, she concluded, for venues to take action in a respectful manner, allowing any identified guest to leave with dignity.


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