Facial Recognition Coming to Macau Casinos

Published By Mia Gardner : 13 Sep 2018 | Last Updated: 24 Dec 2020

Member of the Macau Legislative Council Leong Sun Lok has called for the use of facial recognition technology in Macau casinos and hotels. The Province has seen an increase in crime at a rate of 50% per year according to the Secretary of Security office. Leong has suggested that facial recognition could be the solution.

Macau, which is well known for its rich casino entertainment has been, according to Leong, experiencing an influx of crime. Last year, local hotels reported six robberies in the first half of the year, whereas 2018 has already experienced 13.

Leong has also used the recent robbery, where two Chinese nationals were followed to their hotel room and robbed as an example of the rising crime. He asserts that the potential negative impact on tourism should also be considered.

The crimes committed he believes are the work of outsiders, and a system which stops blacklisted persons from entering Macau is something the government needs to investigate. The system could serve further purposes such as keeping civil servants and casino workers from entering the casinos, which is prohibited.

Despite Leongs Sun Lok’s claims around increased gaming related robberies, according to the government Macau has in actuality experienced a 3% year on year decline in gaming related crime.

Facial Recognition in Casinos

Melco Resorts installed its first facial recognition software in 2015. The resort planned to use the technology as a safeguard in the hopes that it would help them secure 1 of 3 casino licenses for Japans new market.

One of the main concerns for the Japanese market is problem gambling; the use of advanced technology could assist regulators to track at-risk players.

Large Scale Software Implementation

The largest successful launch of facial recognition technology that affected consumers was Macau's move to install facial recognition cameras at all the city's ATMs. The campaign was launched in an effort to minimize capital flight and criminal activity such as money laundering. The campaign was considered successful and an excellent example of the technologies use.

There is no reason why the gaming industry would not expect the same. Leong's call for stricter securities measures is but an echo of the Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak’s. Wong addressed the Legislative Assembly in 2017 stating that technology was necessary and the best way to prevent crime. Although the government has four special units which patrol the gaming venues, the technology is still needed to stop potential threats.

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