The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), the largest gambling provider in the Canadian province operating under Canadian gambling laws, found a new way to stop problem and self-excluded gamers from gambling activity. Land-based establishments are now taking snap pictures of customers via a face recognition system.
The primary focus of the new system, introduced in May this year, is the ‘problem gambler’. The Society for Abolition of Gambling claims that over 300,000 problem gamblers live in Ontario alone while the Center for Personal Freedom estimates the number closer to 1,000.
The cameras that scan faces of all visitors are mounted at the casino’s entrances. The advanced computer security system scans facial features and compares to a list within its database to determine if the player is allowed to gamble or if the player voluntarily signed up for the self-exclusion list.
The system is operational at nineteen of Ontario’s 27 casinos, and is a great example of how technology can help control the population and bend them to the will of the government. Prior to the new system, the security staff made educated guess about ‘who looks like a gambler.’
Director of policy and social responsibility for OLG, Paul Pellizzari, told online gambling news in Canada: “We developed some custom algorithms that would biometrically encrypt the facial data that we had in the system. We took what the industry standard was for encryption & we enhanced it & did a number of other things to make hard to hack into. But if it was hacked into unauthorized people would not be able to access the data,”
The system is the part of the corporation’s commitment to responsible gaming program. It’s yet unclear how the company plans to battle problem gaming online, once their intent to offer online casinos in Canada realizes. Read more on the topic in (Ontario State Lottery Ventures into Online Gaming Operations) article.
OLG plans to have the system up and running in all of its establishments by the end of the year. The system’s cost is estimated between $3 and $5 million. Currently the problem gamblers exclusion list consists of 15,000 people in the province of Ontario.