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Las Vegas
April 23, 2019

Facial Recognition to Bar Problem Gamblers from Casinos

When Jacky Cheung was approached by Chinese police at a pop concert in Nanchang City, he was surprised to find out that the police had used facial recognition to identify the man in a 60,000-odd crowd.

The story is both inspiring and a little terrifying, and yet – technology is all about how you end up using it. Arresting a miscreant at a concert for a minor offense may look like an exaggeration, but Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven tech can be successfully leveraged in other areas to help fight various problems, and even gambling addiction.

With the growing popularity of brick-and-mortar casino across Asia and the world over, barring individuals who have registered as problem gamblers from such venues is going to be made even simpler owing to the complex algorithms designed to single out individuals in homogenous crowds.

Case in Point: Macau and Facial Recognition

Macau is one of the places where the gaming industry is booming, but also one of the places where regulations are slightly stricter. In December 2018, a new measure to ban casino employees from entering casinos in out-of-work hours was introduced.

To enact the measures, authorities are combing through cameras recordings using AI algorithms to ensure that casino employees aren’t benefitting from insider knowledge to beat the house at any location across Macau.

Understandably, the tech will also be used to spot individuals who aren’t supposed to participate in gambling activities, such as problem gamblers or underage individuals. The AI will help save the casino trouble in manually checking each individual, being able to allocate more resources to security.

Biometric identification is not just a matter of using face-recognition software to spot people out of place. Melco Resorts and Entertainment in Macau has introduced Melguard, a system that will require staff to always identify themselves before proceeding to the insides of the casino, with a limited number of comings-and-goings permissible according to the work schedule of the individual.

Melco has admitted that facial recognition is a technology that has excited interest since 2016, but only recently the property has acquired a next-generation software that will eliminate much of the human oversight over the system and let it function autonomously.

AI Just Like Human Brain

While Macau may seem like the genesis of all innovation, Las Vegas casinos have long been using automated and AI solutions to bolster security among other purposes. The California-based AI company Brainchip has managed to develop an automated tracking software that uses video streams to monitor whether dealers have made a mistake. The solution is so sophisticated that it understands concepts as the rules of the game, winning and losing outcomes and what the supposed payout is.

Technological advancements are not new in the casino sector. Land-based poker games are quite popular in the United States and innovators, such as PokerStars, are expanding and building state-of-the-art poker card rooms that utilize Virtual Reality (VR) to bring unparalleled experience to players.

PokerStars recently released a big update for its VR platform, introducing Sit’n’Go tournaments, which have been well-met by the community. The Stars Group-owned poker portal has definitely been making splashes with its VR innovation, even if the company is known to launch and drop products in the space of a few months.

The positive reception of the VR segment has pushed PokerStars to stick with its innovation a little while longer, and by all estimates, this may well be the future with other established poker operators adopting the technology.

Much like these American poker sites, casinos are looking to bring up their technological offering up to scratch. Partypoker recently reported that it has clamped down on a spate of bots that have been plaguing the platform for months. Roughly 200-odd bots have been caught by the fraud team.

Technology in iGaming and poker can lead only to an overall improvement of the customer experience, and this is precisely what the industries are doing right now by teasing new solutions.

More Statistically Relevant Data

Brainchip has also come up with a statistical AI tool that gleans data from table games to help casinos optimize their profitability as well as provide customers with products that they would be happy to engage with and play longer sessions.

Casinos can leverage the power of video surveillance technologies to ensure that gamers aren’t cheating with the machines spotting aberrations in the gameplay of customers and helping trained staff remove wrongdoers from the games.

Beyond the real gaming value of the industry, these smart surveillance solutions are used to improve the overall security across casinos and all their facilities, including the gaming rooms, but also entrance points and even lodgings where guests stay.

Does Going to the Casino Means We Lose Privacy?

To ensure security and enforce gambling responsibility practices, people who want to play at casinos have to be prepared to surrender personal information. Casinos need to be able to keep everyone on-site safe while ensuring the fairness of the games and also make sure that gambling addicts aren’t allowed to the facilities.

No manual process can achieve this better than entrusting a machine, experts have come to agree. The solutions used today are futuristic and even intrusive, but they are the only way to guarantee that gamers can get all they want while attending their preferred casino in complete safety. Again, even online, operators use a set of tools that requests personal information to ensure that everything is up to standard.

Jacky Cheung shouldn’t have gotten himself into trouble in the first place rather than hoping to sink bank in the anonymous crowd.

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