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Australian gaming org pushes for 1:N face matching for gambling exclusions

Australian gaming org pushes for 1:N face matching for gambling exclusions

Clubs Australia is supporting two bills that aim to integrate and regulate the use of digital identity verification for government and private sector functions, and pushing the government to loosen restrictions on facial recognition technology. In a submission to the Parliamentary Committee, the organization, which represents 6000 non-profit, member-owned organizations that provide sporting and recreation infrastructure for community use, endorses the introduction of an accreditation scheme for IDV providers and supports allowing facial recognition data to be retained in the case of gambling exclusions.

“The use of digital ID is likely to lead to simpler identity verification for clubs,” reads the official position statement on Digital ID Bill 2023 and the Digital ID (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023. “Moreover, a functioning digital ID system, which is adopted by consumers, will reduce the identity documents clubs are required to hold, thereby reducing cybersecurity risks and enhancing public confidence in identity verification measures.”

Analysis from ScaleUpAlly shows that clubs in Australia cover a variety of activities and industries, but the majority are for leisure activities, with bowling and golf clubs accounting for around 45 percent of the total. Another 25 percent are for “sporting and recreation clubs,” which in Australia includes gambling. However, even clubs whose primary activity is not betting are closely tied to the gaming industry, in that electronic gaming machines (EGMs) – sometimes called “pokies” after the virtual poker and slots games they offer – generate revenues that help finance club operations. As such, age verification is an important cornerstone of the club system.

According to an article in The Mandarin, Clubs Australia operates most of the EGMs in Australia.

Stored facial recognition data could help identify gambling exclusions

While Clubs Australia recognizes that “introducing strict requirements for collecting, retaining, and destroying biometric data is an important step to protect peoples’ privacy,” it is in favor of flexibility in the case of exclusions for problem gamblers. Since self-imposed exclusions (with required consent) can be implemented for a period ranging from months to years, the organization says, clubs should be able to retain sufficient data, including biometric data, in order to enforce them effectively.

“Where a venue uses FRT to identify excluded patrons, the club must retain sensitive biometric information to facilitate one-to-many matches,” says the statement.

One-to-many face matching, however, has been a red line for many Australian privacy advocates.

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