Article published on 14 January 2011

Ontario Casinos to Introduce Hi Tech Problem Gambling Tools

Ontario casinos to introduce problem gambler technology
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Ontario casinos will soon be rolling out the last word in technology to help keep problem gamblers away from the 27 gambling facilities in the province.

According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, casinos will be installing unique facial recognition scanners that will help keep self excluded problem gamblers out.

At present, self exclusion is dependent on the will power of the gambler, as well as the sharp eye of casino management.

Many self excluded gamblers keep coming back to casinos, however, and manage to get back onto the casino floor - despite their best intentions.

The new technology, which has a 91% accuracy rate, is being hailed as a breakthrough.

Essentially, all patrons entering Ontarian casinos will have their faces digitally scanned.

The image is then sent to a database of voluntary excluded gamblers who admit they have a gambling problem.

Should the scanned face show a match to this list, security is informed and the gambler is not allowed into the casino.

If there is no problem, the patron is free to play at the casino.

"It's more likely you will get caught," said Paul Niesink from Gambling Support Services, about the new system. "It gives people a better understanding that you probably will get caught versus you might get caught."

"The self exclusion procedure is more valuable this way," he said. "It's a step in the right direction."

The privacy commissioner for Ontario, Ann Cavoukian said that the new system is positive in two ways.

"It protects self excluded individuals who want to be excluded from casinos and it also protects the privacy of regular patrons, as their information will not be captured."

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