Problem gambling is a significant issue in Ontario. Thousands of individuals across the province have found themselves addicted to gambling and, until recently, Ontario lacked an effective approach to keeping them out of casinos. 15 000 self-excluded gamblers found themselves able to continue entering local casinos, despite asking to be banned, resulting in lawsuits that cost the province millions. Now that facial recognition technology makes self-exclusion more effective, responsible gamblers are concerned about their privacy – but a new report reveals that there is nothing to worry about.
According to Business Week, facial recognition technology was first implemented in Ontario’s casinos three years ago. The system identifies self-excluded gamblers by identifying the faces of every player that enters the casino. Faces that match images in the database set off an alarm and security is alerted immediately. Players are not allowed into the casino, eliminating the risk of potential harm.
While the system has proven itself to be very effective, players who are not part of the self-exclusion program are concerned. They believe that the facial-recognition technology infringes on their privacy, but Business Week maintains that this is not the case.
The face of each person who enters the casino is scanned, but their images are not stored in the database. Only if there is a match, does the system make use of the image. Otherwise, it is deleted. Additionally, all information that is stored is encrypted. This means that anyone who manages to hack into the system will only uncover jumbled letters and numbers, and will be unable to make any use of the data.
As such, facial recognition technology is safe for all patrons of Ontario’s casinos. Problem gamblers are able to stay out of local gambling venues while all other players need not worry about their likeness being stored in a database.