Software tracks problem gamblers
Sun, 11 Nov 2012 6:31p.m.
By Alex Bourn
A secret camera system using facial-recognition software is being hailed as the solution to keep problem gamblers from the pokies.
The new technology, created by a Hamilton company, is inspired by airport customs SmartGate technology.
On the surface they seem like ordinary pokie machines, but inside, a hidden camera takes a photo of the player and identifies whether they are a problem gambler.
“The machine will take maybe one or two seconds to check their face and life goes on as normal,” says Paul Andrew of company Gaming Inc. “However, for someone who is in the database, the system will recognise them and instantly disable the machine.”
The $15 million system works from photos, which at present are provided by problem gamblers themselves as a way to curb their gaming addiction.
Mr Andrew says it's an overnight solution.
“The problem is problem gamblers,” he says. “There's a massive majority of people who play pokies who don't have a problem and we don't believe they should be negatively impacted by some of the technology being talked about. This system only addresses problem gamblers.”
The Problem Gambling Foundation says while the new technology is very promising, there are difficulties when it comes to recognising people who have a gambling problem as there is no national database with the collated information.
But Mr Andrew says a universal database of photographs needs to be administered, which means bar owners won't have to do their own manual checks every 15 minutes.
“We have to organise the photos and we have to point it out, ‘sorry, we can help you out, don't play the game’,” says Albany Sports Bar managing director Amrit Singh. “So when the software comes it will make our lives easier.”
The software will be trialled in pubs over the next three months and if successful, it could be inserted into more than 18,000 pokie machines throughout the country.
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16/11/2012 12:39:56 p.m.
Could this system be reversed? So that instead of disabling the machine when they sit down in front of it, instead recognise them from across the room and attract their attention by flashing lights or making sound?
12/11/2012 9:08:43 p.m.
Tim Falkiner wrote:
To quote Natasha Dow Schull in "Addiction by Design", "A striking example of 'unwitting submission is found in Bally's method for tracking players regardless of their participation in a loyalty club. the system incorporates biometric recognition into gambling machines via miniaturized cameras linked to a central database; when a player activates the machine without using a player card, the camera 'captures the player's image and stores it along with their game play' creating a 'John Doe' file. Although the casino does not know the player's actual name it can track his behaviour over time" for a total view of the customer's worth." So, the technology has already been developed and possibly implemented overseas (query Australia also) for player tracking and could be used for identifying and pulling the plug on problem gamblers in Australia and NZ. One advantage would be that it could be used anonymously. The industry or government need never know the identity of the player.
12/11/2012 1:38:47 p.m.
Great idea. Help them stop before they lie, cheat, destroy their lives and their families, break into my house turn to prostitution sell drugs etc etc
Smart use of technology.
You are photographed and have video footage taken of you every day. Unless you don't go outside. Petrol, ATMs, Malls, Traffic Cams, Skype and on and on .....
We have been seen from space for decades.
Take you invasion of privacy concerns to a 3rd world country where they don't have the luxury to have time to be concerned, staying alive is the biggest challenge.
12/11/2012 11:12:59 a.m.
Stephen Wilson - Lockstep wrote:
Please, there are no "overnight solutions" in biometric security, or any security for that matter.
If this solution is based on Smartgate, then let's have a look at how that works. My recent personal experience with Smartgate at Sydney Airport was that it was failing at around 50% of passengers. Three out of four in my family alone were rejected and had to divert to a customs officer.
Many lay people don't appreciate that all biometrics commit False Positives (where they confuse a new person with another) and False Negatives (where they fail to recognise someone at all) and all biometric systems need to be tuned to get the balance right. In practical terms, a biometric can be biased towards better security (fewer False Positives) or better convenience (fewer False Negatives). Smartgate is obviously tuned to err on the side of caution; a passenger's temporary inconvenience is as nothing compared to the risk of letting suspicious persons into the country.
But what's to be done with pokies? A face recognition system that never fails to recognise an enrolled problem gambler will tend to frequently trigger on ordinary people, falsely matching them on someone else in the database. That would be so bad for business, the system will inevitably be tuned back the other way, and one wonder then just how accurate it will be. If a problem gambler impulsively tries their luck on a machine, and is not recognised, then who's liable for subsequent harms? What promises are made about the efficacy of this system? Hopefully the designers will publish their actual False Positive and False Negative Rates so realistic expectations are set.
12/11/2012 9:16:19 a.m.
I feel its a big brother senario. Simple once in the area put on a mask and start gambling. No law on wearing a mask (yet, but it will com).
12/11/2012 8:27:02 a.m.
What a gross invasion of privacy to prevent access to a few sheep with problems. Next it'l be checking your bank statements. why not go the whole hog and make them get a tatoe on their forehhead. Then we can all watch them so they behave themselfs.
12/11/2012 7:49:02 a.m.
The opposition will be against it as they will feel it breaches human rights to be photographed doing gambling.
12/11/2012 7:34:12 a.m.
Is there not some kind of privicy issue here,i would not some one to be taking my picture without my knollege or permision
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