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New technology helps problem gamblers

26 June 2013

New technology helps problem gamblers

Facial recognition technology is the way of the future and will significantly help to reduce the harm caused by gambling, says Positive Outlook director Paul Andrew.

Mr Andrew noted that Sky City has announced plans for facial recognition technology to be used in Auckland’s casino. He says this confirms that facial recognition is now mainstream, not science fiction.

Positive Outlook is developing facial recognition technology designed specifically for pub pokie machines. This will be slightly different from the Sky City system, because it will automatically turn off a pokie machine should an excluded player attempt to use it. Mr Andrew hopes facial recognition will be introduced as widely and quickly as possible into all New Zealand gaming lounges.

“There is a lot of interest from the pub gaming sector about doing so. We’re currently working with the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) to trial the technology in one of its Hamilton pubs,” says Mr Andrew.

“Ours is a Kiwi-owned and developed software solution which will be built into pokie machines,” he says. “It uses smart-gate photography, similar to that used at passport control stations in airports, to identify whether a pokie player has been excluded from gambling. If they have, the machine will automatically turn off, effectively preventing the player from gambling.

“The trial is going well and has received positive feedback from the MPs and Ministers who have seen demonstrations. We look forward to progressing the trial and working with the industry regulator, the Department of Internal Affairs, to enable its introduction as soon as possible.”

NZCT chief executive, Mike Knell, says the catalyst for developing this new technology came from Te Ururoa Flavell’s Gambling Harm Reduction Bill.

“It’s important for local communities that our funding model is sustainable. Therefore, as well as meeting all current legal obligations, NZCT is supportive of any initiative which can help reduce the harm caused by gambling,” says Mr Knell. MEDIA RELEASE

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“Naturally, new initiatives have to be tested and proven, but we believe this technology has the potential to significantly reduce the amount of harm problem gamblers cause to themselves and their families,” he says.

“We are assisting by providing Positive Outlook with access to 18 gaming machines in one of our Hamilton venues. The facial recognition technology has been installed in these machines and our publican and his staff are monitoring and responding to the software responses when ‘trial’ excluded problem gamblers attempt to play the machine.

“If this technology is as good as we hope, it will give everyone involved in this sector (the players, problem gambling service providers, the regulator, the publicans and gaming trusts) more assurance and confidence that gambling harm is being minimised.”

– Ends –

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