Konami Gaming To Roll Out Facial Recognition Tech

By Ben Hamill - October 24 2019

Casinos face a daily battle trying to suss out and keep tabs on folks either trying to cheat the system or violating exclusion or self-exclusion rules. In order to embrace a system way more effective than a typical loyalty card, Konami Gaming will shortly begin to roll out a facial recognition alternative that will allow casinos to track patrons using state of the art tech, rather than a traditional card.

The gaming brand has said that the idea behind the use of a biometric-scan system is to create as smoother overall player and player management system. Players will be able to enjoy a seamless gaming experience, as automatic facial recognition bio-scanners will be installed on slot machines and at games tables, making the use of player loyalty cards redundant. Along with not having to fish around for and feed a loyalty card into every machine played, a facial recognition system would eliminate the need for a manual sign-up.

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The Other Side Of The Coin

Konami Gaming and the casinos it powers may very well have pure intentions for the use of facial recognition technology. But the fact that casinos are instantly able to recognise patrons, as well as store player-specific habits (including game-preference and spending habits) on a central database for ongoing access and cross-reference, doesn’t sit equally well with everyone.

In fact, biometric-scan technology has become an absolute red-tape nightmare for privacy advocates. In fact, there are currently two major lawsuits relating to privacy issues at casinos underway in the US. The actions involve Caesars (Harrah’s Casino) and Penn National (Hollywood Casino). The lawsuits relate to the operators having not informed players beforehand that they were gathering data about them via facial recognition technology. Failure to divulge any form of surveillance or the accruing of personal movements or date constitutes a contravention of the state of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Regulation Is The Answer

The two casinos both make use of the technology as a means of identifying “known cheaters”. The operators do this by gathering biometric data via on-site security cameras equipped with facial recognition scanners. The data is then stored on the casinos’ systems for ongoing comparison against those biometric images belonging to players previously found guilty of having cheated.

But the use of facial recognition technology is very much a dark horse, and for obvious reasons. Privacy activists remain concerned about the application of the data gathered about players. Some are especially concerned about the possibility of casinos preying on players more likely to chase losses; to name but a single example of how the technology may be applied in an unethical manner.

But the future is now and facial technology is very much here to stay. The secret for Konami Gaming will be to find the regulatory sweet spot and to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what and what not to use biometric technology for.

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