Facial Recognition in the Gambling Industry

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BetMGM Nov 01, 2023, 5:18 AM

It’s hard to think of an industry that hasn’t adapted to and benefitted from the rapid development of technologies worldwide. New and evolving tech and software are proving to be a gateway for businesses to pivot, reshape their operations, improve customer experience, and up their security.

Already, relatively advanced machine learning and AI have been applied in casinos. In online casinos, for example, the user experience has been improved through personalized dashboards and other interesting aspects. With all of the innovations in casino technology globally and the changes the use of AI in casino gaming could bring, players could wonder, “Do casinos use facial recognition?”

Do Casinos Have Facial Recognition Software?

Facial recognition technology may be a controversial topic. Still, there are already many casinos that have started to implement it in their establishments, and it’s just a matter of time before other gambling facilities around the world adopt it.

Change, as they say, is as good as a holiday. However, not all holidays go according to plan. Casinos are undoubtedly excited about the benefits of facial recognition software and how it could improve customer experience, but they must remain alert to the very real cybersecurity concerns around privacy and data that it brings with it, too.

How Does Facial Recognition Work in Casinos?

Facial recognition in casinos uses strategically placed, high-tech security cameras to capture a person’s facial features. The cameras are placed at various points throughout the casino, including at entrances, exits, gaming tables, and other important areas. Software programmed with advanced algorithms then captures images processed in real time. The software analyzes the player’s unique facial characteristics and creates a mathematical representation, often called a facial signature. 

The extracted facial template is then compared against a database of known individuals. In a casino, this database may include employees, VIP customers, and individuals flagged for various reasons, such as cheating or being on self-exclusion lists. 

The use of facial recognition in casinos, like any other setting, raises privacy concerns. To address these concerns, many casinos have privacy policies in place and ensure that data is used exclusively for security and customer service purposes, with strict access controls and retention policies.

How Would Facial Recognition Be Used?

Vector illustration of Mobile app for facial recognition

At this stage, the use of machine learning and AI is still in its infancy in the casino industry, and although it is being used in some aspects, there is still far more to be discovered and explored. Here are just some of the ways that this technology could be used in land-based and online casinos in the near future.

Player Recognition

One of the first ways this kind of technology will be applied within the industry is to scan and recognize players when they enter a casino or sit down at particular casino games. This type of casino surveillance has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it can be used to identify regulars and VIP players and customize games according to their preferences, making the user experience all the more satisfying. On the other hand, it could prove problematic because customer privacy has to be respected — not everyone may want the casino to know when they are visiting and how often they are coming in.

Security

One of the most critical aspects of this technology is that it, along with state-of-the-art casino security cameras, will go a long way in helping casinos beef up their security. This doesn’t just apply to those trying to buck the system through card counting or other such frowned-upon methods. It also keeps track of who is on what machine when there is a financial threshold surpassed in one game, or if there is a cybersecurity issue, or even something as simple as assisting with security on the casino floor when it comes to pickpocketing and other crimes. 

It’s also set to be used to track gamblers known to the casino who aren’t perhaps blocklisted but have displayed suspicious behaviors in the past. This is going to go a long way in freeing up time for pit bosses to do other aspects of their job while the technology tracks problem patrons. This kind of software application will protect patrons and the casino in new and advanced ways.

Customer Service

Casinos will also deploy these new technologies in customer service to enhance player experience. There’s already a degree of customization available to the gaming experience through casino facial recognition software, but these new technologies will allow customers to access customer service options like never before. VIP and loyalty players can instantly gain access to their benefits and bonuses without signing in, and promotions can be pushed to customers who aren’t signed up for any bonuses, and so on.

What Are the Benefits of Facial Recognition in the Casino Industry?

Close up of hands pushing large stack of colored poker chips across gaming table for betting

The development of new technologies is shaping the future of the online casino industry in many ways. For example, if you play online casino games, you may have noticed that your dashboard differs from the first time you played at that specific online casino. This is simply because most online casinos use basic machine learning or AI to track the data of aspects like your favorite games and other online behaviors. This allows the platform to customize the dashboard to improve your user experience by putting your favorite games right in front of you instead of making you spend time searching for them.

If such a basic use of technology can improve user experience to such a degree, imagine how useful something as advanced as facial recognition could be.

Here are just some of the many benefits that it offers casinos:

Recognized Problem Behaviors

First and foremost, the best casinos don’t want their patrons to develop a gambling problem. Much has been done over the last decade to try and find ways to prevent gambling addiction from developing. Casino cameras used with facial recognition software could go a long way in the fight to protect patrons from addiction. The software will recognize individuals and then track the time they spend at the casino and their particular behaviors at each machine. Casino staff can then be flagged if the technology recognizes behavior that is indicative of the formation stages of addiction.

Identify High-Value Players

Every casino has high-value players and VIPs that customer service spends a lot of time with on the floor. A special effort should always be made for loyal customers who provide a great source of income, and facial recognition makes this a lot easier to do.

Facial recognition means that staff are alerted as soon as a VIP or high-value customer walks through the doors. Firstly, their gaming experience can immediately be improved through customizations on their preferred machines. In addition, floor staff are also given insights into more personal behaviors, such as what they like to drink or eat, how long they usually stay, and how much they are likely to spend. This allows for an immediate, personalized customer service experience for patrons who greatly contribute to a casino’s bottom line.

Identify Excluded Players

Gene Simmons playing at poker table

There are three types of excluded players that casinos need to keep an eye out for.

  • Voluntarily excluded: Players with serious gambling addictions will hopefully be on a self-exclusion list. They should be prevented from entering the casino property wherever possible.
  • Criminals: Facial recognition could help casinos match up player profiles with law enforcement databases to protect other patrons. Those with records that could negatively impact the casino or players around them could be prevented from entering. Serious criminals can also be located with this technology.
  • Banned players: Every casino has a list of banned players. They may have been banned for cheating, stealing, being drunk and aggressive, or other reasons. Casinos could use facial recognition to conduct these checks and get alerts from other casinos about banned players entering their establishments.

Improve Loyalty Program Numbers

The casino industry is known for its highly rewarding loyalty and VIP programs that give patrons bonuses, coupons, discounted stays at luxury accommodations, free food and drink, and access to private areas. However, like most industries, it’s not always easy to get people to sign up for these programs.

Facial recognition could help identify high-value players who aren’t signed up, and then use personalized gaming experiences to encourage them. For example, if you know through opt-in data that this particular patron enjoys staying at a hotel close by, the loyalty program could immediately offer a discount on that particular hotel for his next stay, and so on. This technology offers casinos a way to personalize and customize promotions for loyalty and VIP programs that make it a lot more tempting for players to sign up for.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.