Pokie room change across Australia: Cameras set to identify problem gamblers to pub staff

Facial recognition technology could soon be implemented across all venues with pokies rooms in Australia, in a bid to help people with gambling problems.

The system is intended to help problem gamblers who have already self-excluded from venues, with the cameras able to alert venue staff if it detects people on the prohibited list, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The technology already exists in South Australian pubs and in around 100 venues around NSW, with plans for further expansion. Under the state’s Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion scheme, the cameras will be installed across all pokies rooms next year.

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Now the facial recognition technology is also expected to be expanded across the entire country next year.

Currently, people are able to self-ban themselves from specific venues and online sites but it requires a lengthy process that involves an interview and signing a deed of self-exclusion.

They must also take a photo which is supplied to the venue’s staff who will help enforce the ban.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, key hospitality industry stakeholders widely welcomed the news.

ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said it would ensure problem gamblers are able to stick to their goals.

“Those that have been proactive in choosing to self-exclude from the gaming rooms of clubs and pubs will now have extra support from our industry to make sure they maintain their resolve and stay out of harm’s way,” he said.

Huge penalty for The Star

In September, Star Entertainment Group announced it would install a further 15 facial-recognition cameras in its Sydney casino, bringing the venue’s total to 70.

The measure was done in part to ensure it could keep its casino licence, which was under scrutiny from the state’s gambling watchdog, NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC).

Subsequently, The Star was given the maximum penalty of $100 million and a suspension of its casino licence by the NICC on Monday, after a review conducted by Adam Bell SC uncovered instances of alleged money laundering, organised crime links and fraud.

However, The Star will still be allowed to continue to operate due to the NICC’s appointment of Nick Weeks (who was formerly the NRL’s chief operating officer) as the venue’s external manager. While the venue will not have a casino licence, Mr Weeks does.

NICC chief commissioner Philip Crawford said the decision was made out of “public interest,” to ensure the casino’s 10,000 employees would retain their work.

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