A ClubsACT proposal could see problem gamblers opt in to facial recognition software to keep them out of some Canberra clubs.
The system would be tested in several locations under the proposal.
COMS Systems Limited, based in New Zealand, developed the technology, which alerts staff to patrons who have registered for a database when they enter a venue’s poker machine or gambling area. It has already been implemented in some pubs and clubs in South Australia, as well as 170 locations in New Zealand.
“The system is based on the idea that an individual who chooses to self-exclude from a club and is already part of the self-exclusion regime will be photographed if they go into a gambling area only,” ClubsACT Chief Executive Craig Shannon explained.
“It’s really just to reinforce their own request for self-exclusion.”
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury, on the other hand, has expressed reservations about issues such as privacy and patron consent, saying, “I’m not sure that’s the best way forward.”
“We’ve certainly encouraged the clubs to engage with the Gambling and Racing Commission to discuss the specifics of that, as well as to consider restrictions and privacy legislation.”
“Also, whether their customers truly want this, or whether there are other ways we could actually seek to reduce gambling harm.”
Shannon noted that the system has already been installed in several clubs but is currently inactive, with the Attorney-General awaiting a briefing from the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Justice and Community Safety directorate on broader issues concerning facial recognition technology. If approved, the trial could begin within a few weeks, according to ClubsACT.