Facial Recognition to Allow Banknote Usage at South Australian Pokies

silhouette of a young man standing in front of a blue circle

Photo by Ben Sweet

The use of facial recognition technology at South Australian pokies venues could pave the way for the use of more note acceptors, a new report revealed.

The Advertiser said South Australian venues will provide machines that can accept notes in the next six to 12 months, only if facial recognition technology was available to confirm problem gamblers.

Once identified, venues would be responsible for removing those individuals from machines.

Welfare advocates are against the plan and warn that the note acceptors will “make it easier for people to get into trouble.”

South Australia Council of Social Service policy director Catherine Earl said allowing gambling machines in South Australia to take banknotes was a significant step backward.

“SACOSS is concerned about the harm in the community that will result,” she said.

“Gambling is already responsible for significant harm in our communities, not just for individuals but whole families.

“This will just make it even easier for people to get into trouble.”

Acting Attorney General Rob Lucas said South Australians should not be concerned about privacy.

“Maintaining both the integrity of this data and the privacy of patrons has been a key consideration when determining the policy governing the use of facial recognition technology,” Mr Lucas said.

There are seven facial recognition technology providers available, including Queensland-based company Vix Vizion, whose technology is used by Swinburne University to help identify troublemakers on campus and the US company RealNetworks, whose system was used at the 2020 UEFA Super Cup in Budapest, where it helped count how many people were wearing masks.

Adelaide Casino is the only venue to have already embraced the technology, which has been allowed since last month, while other venues waited for more competition among providers.

Australian Hotels Association state chief Ian Horne said hotels were gearing up to install the facial recognition technology to allow the note acceptors.

“We are very pleased that there are now seven providers out in the market, which creates a level of competition and makes them more price competitive,” he said.

“If the industry was going to enjoy the benefits of new technology including note acceptors, part of that was to also greatly enhance our capacity to identify problem gamblers with facial recognition.

Over the next six to 12 months, you’ll see at least 50 per cent of venues having accredited facial recognition systems in place.

Mr Horne said there were stringent guidelines, venues would continue to be responsible for monitoring problem gamblers and people wearing face masks could still get picked up by the technology.

NEC improves its facial recognition technology

Facial recognition systems are moving with the times, with a Japanese company introducing a technology that will work while guests are wearing masks.

Intergame reports technology company NEC claims that its new system will work in less than one second and has an accuracy rate of more than 99.9 per cent.

It determines when a person is wearing a covering and then focuses on parts that are visible, such as the eyes and surrounding areas, to verify the subject’s identity.

Users would register a photograph in advance.

The company had been working on the system before the pandemic, as many Japanese people have allergies and wear face masks regularly.

NEC had been perfecting the system in conjunction with security companies.

William Brown

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