Problem gamblers will soon find it extremely difficult to get into slots, thanks to a new high-tech system being rolled out across Australia.
Pubs and clubs will have access to the new facial recognition technology, which uses cameras to scan the faces of those heading to the poker machines.
For those who want to kick their gambling habits, they can sign up for a self-exclusion system.
The new technology is then able to compare the faces of those heading to the slots with those signed up to the exclusion system, where staff are immediately alerted if there is a match.
Currently, those who want to stop gambling can apply to be banned from certain venues, but the pressure is on hospitality staff to recognize the players.
Problem gamblers will soon find it extremely difficult to enter cash rooms thanks to a new high-tech system being rolled out across Australia
The technology alerts staff when someone who has voluntarily asked to be excluded from a venue due to their gambling problems tries to enter. Pictured, the fictional example of a self-excluded gambler trying to enter a gambling venue
The software is a major upgrade to existing self-exclusion programs that are mostly paper-based and often failed because they relied on hotel staff checking paper documents.
While there is little to help those addicted to slot machines, the self-exclusion system is a new glimmer of hope for many.
The main reasons why players sign up for self-exclusion are that they have lost too much money, cannot control their gambling or have developed financial and relationship problems due to their gambling.
Facial recognition software sends an alert about anyone on the self-exclusion register entering a venue to venue staff via an app
The cameras already operate widely in South Australian pubs and around 100 venues in New South Wales.
It is understood that venues with the cameras agree to only use the data collected from the facial recognition program to compare with the self-exclusion system.
Jeff Bradford, CEO of a company that sells the camera systems, Element Security, told Daily Mail Australia that the technology is already working in hundreds of locations in Australia.
In one case, a woman who tried to enter a venue using a friend’s ID card was caught by the system and banned, potentially saving her thousands in gambling losses.
“Implementation in venues has already proven this to be a successful solution,” said Bradford.
A company selling the camera systems, Element Security, told Daily Mail Australia the technology is already working in hundreds of locations in Australia.
Australians lost approximately $25 billion to legal forms of gambling between 2018 and 2019, representing the largest losses per population in the world, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
In one month, Aussies spent $157 million on the slots, second only to betting on horse and dog racing.
According to a recent study by Gambling Research from last year, the number of Australians with a gambling problem has doubled over 10 years to more than 1 per cent.
There are more than 190,000 electronic gaming machines in Australia – more per capita than almost any other major jurisdiction, apart from Nevada, 2019 data shows.
If you have a gambling problem and are interested in a self-exclusion program or other solutions, contact Gambler’s Help on 1800 858 858.
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