The measure aims to improve the identification of problem gamblers wishing to self-exclude.
Australia.- Pubs and clubs in New South Wales are to install facial recognition technology as a way to identify gamblers who have opted to be into the state’s Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion system.
As guests enter a venue, cameras will scan their faces and compare them to a database of players who have agreed to join the self-exclusion system. If a self-excluded player is identified, a notification will be sent to venue staff, who can step in and refer the person to support services.
The technology is a joint venture between Club NSW and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA). It has already been deployed in around 100 venues in NSW and will eventually be rolled out across the state. South Australia is testing similar technology.
Josh Landis, ClubsNSW CEO, told ABC: “This is designed in a targeted way to help those who have a problem — not to impact anybody else. We believe it’s critical to support those people that have a problem in a targeted way where ordinary people are not affected.
“They can enjoy their pub or club the way that they ordinarily would – but the people who have a problem are genuinely looked after to ensure they get the help that they need.”
John Green, director of liquor and policing for Australian Hotels Association [AHA] NSW, added: “People can change over time and using facial recognition technology just makes sure we’ve got the best chance of identifying those people as they enter.
“We’ve tested how it operates and quite frankly it can identify people wearing masks, wearing glasses and trying to avoid detection.”
The measure was criticised by Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who said the facial recognition technology only targeted problem gamblers who had chosen to self-exclude and would have no impact on reducing harms from gambling more broadly.
Faehrmann said: “This is an attempt, clearly potentially a successful attempt, by ClubsNSW to avoid a cashless gambling card. This is the industry’s way of avoiding having to introduce a suite of measures that would reduce gambling harm across the state.”