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Facial recognition helps problem pokies players say no

11 Mar 2019

New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) has installed facial recognition technology at all six of its Gisborne gaming venues to help problem gamblers who have excluded themselves, says NZCT chief executive Mike Knell.

“NZCT understands and accepts a duty of care towards gambling patrons and our legal obligation to help problem gamblers exclude themselves from our venues,” Knell says.

“Facial recognition technology is an important innovation for helping self-identified problem gamblers stay out of temptation’s way by stopping them getting into gaming rooms from which they have chosen to exclude themselves.

“Although there is a relatively small number of excluded problem gamblers and the costs of the technology are high, with government agency and stakeholder support we’re hopeful that having the technology widespread will bring forward more people who could be at risk to seek help from problem gambling service providers.”

The technology was successfully trialled by gaming societies at several venues around the country, including NZCT’s, and became fully operational in 2018. 

“We are pleased with the positive results to date and NZCT is progressively installing the technology at our own expense in venues. Nine of our venues outside the Gisborne area have the technology operating, so far with excellent outcomes, and this new cluster will make 15 in total.

“We will monitor the Gisborne venues and how many attempted breaches of exclusion orders the facial recognition technology identifies. We expect that having this technology in all our Gisborne venues will be a strong motivator to self-excluded gamblers to stop gambling in our gaming rooms.”

NZCT’s gaming rooms are at Aladdin’s Bar and Tavern, Bar 59, Bollywood Stars, Brezz’n Sports Bar, Shipwreck and Sugar. 

NZCT will encourage the operators of the other two gaming venues in Gisborne to consider installing this technology.

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