Facial recognition technology has been installed by New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) at its Gisborne-based gaming venues. As revealed by the Chief Executive Officer of NZCT, Mike Knell, the implementation of the new technology across the six casinos aims to help self-excluded problem gamblers stay away from gambling.
Mr Knell explained that NZCT understands and accepts that proper care should be provided to casino customers, as well as the legal obligation for help to be provided to problem gamblers who want to exclude themselves from the Trust’s casino facilities. According to him, facial recognition technology is an important innovation when it comes to problem gamblers’ self-identification and prevention from gambling-related harm, as it would help gambling addicts by stopping them getting into gambling rooms from which they have already banned themselves.
The CEO of New Zealand Community Trust explained that there is currently a relatively small number of self-excluded gambling addicts and the technology’s costs are high but the NZCT was willing to make the technology more widespread so that it could reach more people who could be at risk of becoming problem gamblers.
Facial Recognition Innovation Implemented to Protect Self-Excluded Gamblers
The face recognition technology, which became fully operational in 2018, has already been successfully implemented at several casino venues in New Zealand, including NZCT facilities.
The Trust’s boss explained that so far, the implementation of the innovation has been a success, with positive results generated. As Mr Knell explained, the NZCT is progressively installing the special technology across its venues in the country at its own expense. For the time being, the face recognition technology has been adopted by nine of the New Zealand Community Trust’s venues outside the Gisborne area. Now, the number of Trust’s locations which have the innovation operating will be boosted to 15.
Apart from the six gaming rooms of NZCT situated at Bar 59, Sugar, Aladdin’s Bar and Tavern, Shipwreck, Bollywood Stars and Brezz’n Sports Bar, the Trust also revealed that it plans to encourage the operators of the two other Gisborne-based gaming venues to consider installing the technology.
The new facial recognition system, which was developed by Torutek and COMs Systems after a request from the local gambling industry, has been promoted across the country as part of the Government’s and anti-gambling campaigners’ efforts to tackle problem gambling. It monitors people entering gaming rooms and checks their face with a voluntary photo database of gambling addicts who have taken advantage of the so-called self-exclusion option. In case that there is a match, the gambling room’s staff members are informed and alerted to check the patron’s ID.
By the end of May 2018, there were fifteen gaming venues using the facial recognition technology on the territory of New Zealand, with a few more preparing to implement the system as well.