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Australian gaming operator calls for coordination on facial recognition for restrictions

Australian gaming operator calls for coordination on facial recognition for restrictions
 

Gambling and hospitality company Endeavour Group has expressed support for the state of Victoria’s gaming reform in an announcement. The group has written to state governments “to seek a more coordinated and collaborative approach… when it comes to important proposals for digital, carded or cashless solutions, and facial recognition technology,” says Endeavour Group CEO Steve Donohue.

A nationally coordinated approach to facial recognition would allow for state governments to share knowledge and operate from a common framework, Donohue says. Face biometrics are already used for gambling restrictions in South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, he notes.

Victoria’s reforms do not include facial recognition, but do mandate the use of gaming cards for identity verification.

South Australia has already made it mandatory for venues with at least 30 poker machines to use facial recognition technology to enforce self-exclusion and banning. Queensland and New South Wales (NSW) are also planning to implement the approach, with 100 NSW pubs and clubs already voluntarily deploying facial recognition technology.

Some worry that a lack of regulations surrounding how biometric data is used could allow for the industry to use facial recognition to induce gambling rather than mitigate gambling addiction.

“I don’t think the state gambling regulators have had their eyes on the ball when it comes to monitoring these matters like how data or facial recognition technology is used,” the Alliance For Gambling Reform’s CEO Carrol Bennett says, as quoted by iTnews.

A spokesperson for Liquor & Gaming NSW said that regulating the use of the biometric data falls under the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s responsibility. Reforms will be assessed by an independent panel to oversee the governments cashless gaming trials.

“It will include consideration of robust privacy and data security protocols, as well as mechanisms to ensure this technology cannot be used to facilitate distribution of marketing or promotional material,” says the spokesperson.

This follows Konami Gaming licensing its facial recognition to an Australian gambling machine maker for use in the nation’s casinos.

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