South Australia resists problem gambling with facial recognition technology


The government of South Australia is bragging about the high rate of compliance with a new law that requires the use of facial recognition at many gambling establishments. The law came into effect in December and applies specifically to all gambling halls that have more than 30 poker machines, where at least one of these machines has the capacity to accept traditional banknotes.

South Australia now says more than 230 establishments have already installed facial recognition technology in an attempt to meet these obligations. Facial recognition helps site operators spot players who have been banned from the casino, even if they never have direct interactions with casino staff (as is possible with an automated poker machine).

The law itself was passed to prevent problem gambling and the associated fallout. According to Attorney General Vickie Chapman, facial recognition is more effective than manual checks because it eliminates human error and gives places a better way to handle high volume of traffic.

“Previously, site staff had to remember the faces of all banned customers and be required to identify them sometimes during peak periods,” Chapman explained. “By automating much of this work through facial recognition, staff receive an alert and are able to take appropriate action in response by intervening and ensuring that a banned person is not allowed to play. “

Since the law came into force, gambling establishments in South Australia have scanned more than 50 million faces and detected banned players more than 1,700 times. Chapman also noted that many sites have been proactive and have voluntarily installed facial recognition technology even though they are not required to do so by the letter of the law.

Gaming operators can currently choose from one of six approved facial recognition providers, although that number may increase with three more pending requests. Japan has announced similar plans to use facial recognition to combat gambling addiction, while Star Casino in Sydney, Australia has deployed the technology to stop would-be thieves.

May 28, 2021 – by Eric Weiss

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