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Technology company claims facial recognition works

Fri, Mar 22, 9:34am by Staff Writer

Technology company NEC claims its facial recognition technology has successfully foiled an attempt by a problem gambler using disguises to try and gain entry to an Australian casino, CIO reports.

Casinos and clubs in Australia must provide the option for customers to self exclude themselves from a venue by law.

The law has been implemented as a way of supporting individuals whose gambling has become problematic.

During the self-exclusion process, a minimum ban period is agreed and a photo taken.

NEC said its ‘NeoFace’ technology was able to identify a man who had previously “self reported” and registered as a gambling addict from a CCTV feed covering the unnamed casino’s entry points.

The system “detected the man trying to enter the premises, even though he had previously requested he be turned away,” the company said.

“The man tried on two more occasions to gain entry by attempting to disguise his appearance. It didn’t work. Such was the accuracy of NEC’s technology, he was identified on each occasion and was turned away by staff,” NEC said.

Facial recognition systems are now becoming commonplace in most casinos, with NeoFace used in all of Australia’s major casino destinations according to NEC.

Technology used at The Star and Crown with mixed results

The Star in Sydney – the country’s second largest casino – is rolling out facial recognition enables cameras in high risk areas in coming months, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

The facial recognition cameras will be deployed in high-risk areas over the coming months and be able to match peoples’ faces to those held in a database of known offenders.

The Star’s surveillance chief Catherine Clark said: “it will also be incorporated into our customer service where we can recognise customers and welcome them back personally, telling them their favourite drink is waiting at the bar.”

As part of the upgrade, The Star is also getting new door alarms, ID scanners, infra-red night vision cameras and motion sensors.

“Surveillance here is a 24-hour, seven day a week operation. On a Saturday night we have 150 people working in our surveillance and security teams,” Clark added, saying that she gets her best ideas from “watching movies like Oceans 11.”

Australia’s largest casino, Crown Casino in Melbourne, has been using facial recognition technology for some time now.

In 2013, it conducted a pilot program in its Teak Room and in 2016 engaged a number of vendors for a year-long trial.

The casino reported that the initial results were disappointing, with the system easily fooled by different facial expressions and minor changes to appearance.

With the technology’s capabilities improving all the time, another trial commenced in January 2018, with nine cameras at entrances and in various gaming areas.

Crown told the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation that the technology had resulted in an increase in the number of voluntary excluded persons detected and removed from the premises.

The VCGLR now recommends that Crown and other casinos “expand facial recognition technology to cameras on all entrances” to catch self excluded gamblers.

Facial recognition technology isn’t only being used to detect problem gamblers, but also VIP gamblers in a crowd.

It could be used, NEC said, for “welcoming regular patrons back to a venue and letting them know their favourite beverage is waiting for them at the bar.”

On the arrival of a specific individual, a host could be scrambled to personally greet them.

Many casinos in the United States use facial recognition technology to detect blacklisted card counters and cheaters, while casinos in Macau have introduced the technology in an effort to prevent criminal activity and enforce anti-money laundering rules.


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